traffic lightsFor many years a number of organizations globally have spent much money and time on trying to improve the abilities of managers and to nurture new leaders. It has been estimated that in the U.S companies spend around 14 billion dollars annually for training programs. Universities and colleges around the world offer numerous degree courses associated with leadership. In addition, these training courses offered from top rated business schools costs on average around $150,000 for each candidate.

Moreover, when various executives were questioned on ranking their top human-capital priorities, many stated that leadership development was a priority currently and in the future. Over two thirds of these interviewed respondents stated that leadership development was a very important concern. In addition, a mere 7% of the senior managers that were interviewed from a business school in the UK think their companies have been able to develop leaders effectively. 30% of top U.S companies have also admitted that many of them have failed in exploiting international business effectively as they are lacking leaders who possess the right abilities.

In the process of interviewing hundreds of chief executives worldwide about this very valid struggle, four common types of mistakes have become evident. These will include overlooking context, staying focused on studies instead of the real job, underestimating mindsets and lack of results measurements.


Overlooking Context

Context is very critical in producing successful leadership. Brilliant leaders in specific situations will not perform so well in other situations. Various training initiatives often go on an assumption of “one size fits all” as well as the same groups of style or skills relating to leadership will be appropriate irrespective of CEO mandate, organizational culture or strategy. The correct approach would be to rather focus on a small amount of competencies that will result in a substantial difference when it comes to performance.

Staying Focused On Studies Instead Of The Real

When planning a curriculum program for a company, the enterprise often faces having to balance work between studies. There may be value in off-site programs which offer the participants a way to escape from their daily demands while learning. However, even after a basic type of training course, most adults are known for only retaining a mere 10% of what they have learnt compared to two thirds from actual practice in the workplace.

Underestimating Mindsets

To become an effective leader often requires a complete change in behavior. Many companies may know about this, but many are reluctant to address the root causes of why their leaders may be acting a certain way. This approach can be uncomfortable, but without this approach behaviors will generally remain unchanged.

Lack Of Measuring Results

Often companies will pay a large amount of “lip service” in regards to how important leadership skills may be, but fail to back up the evidence related to this importance. When a business fails to measure and track changes in specific leadership performances, the odds that these improvement initiatives are not taken in a serious light will increase.