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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

Why Leadership Development Doesn’t Happen

Leadership development makes a ton of sense.

If you look at many of the most successful organizations across the world and you will see not just one, but many leaders working together to make sure success is always achieved. If you look across the same spectrum at the most successful leaders, you will find a majority of these leaders are developing other leaders in some fashion.

Leaders who are sold out to the leadership development process, the overall level of performance of the organization rises dramatically.

Why doesn’t leadership development happen in more organizations?

The constraint for many organizations in many cases, is the leaders are busy trying to do it themselves, busy wishing it were happening or just plain busy.

There are traps that leaders can fall into which prohibit the development of other leaders.

  1. Daily Demands- Some leaders are so overwhelmed with pressing demands where daily responsibilities and the urgency of the day-to-day get attention and therefore time. Even when leadership development is being used, if it does not find it’s follow-up work in the important list of priorities, the improvement in leadership development will be minimal. We know that developing leaders takes time and time is a valuable commodity in short supply.

  2. Hurtful past situations- Some leaders have been hurt and disappointed and may have a negative or discounted attitude toward any kind of development program for senior and emerging leaders. The fact is when we decide we are going to have people in our organizations and/or make the decision to develop leaders, there will always be those who will disappoint us, many times it will be the ones we have put the most into and with whom we have spent the most time. This causes a flinch with some leaders when the thought or idea of developing people arises.

  1. Fear of being open- Some leaders just don’t want to expose themselves and let others get close enough to expose thoughts and feelings. They are more comfortable with the outer mask of behavior they have developed over the years rather than the inner authentic self people would rather connect with and know. Leadership development is not all about putting your best face forward, but in many cases about being totally transparent about your doubts and fears. Great leadership development requires transparency, we have to be willing to allow close relationships, pour not only our brains into future leaders, but our hearts also.

  2. Stuck in a doom loop- A doom loop occurs when we get stuck in a pattern of behavior and in which the internal answers are not present. The doom loop continues because we will not open up to allow outside change to free us from the doom loop. This is a common occurance when a leader was never developed or mentored prior to their gaining position, so the learned pattern continues and keeps the doom loop going. Consider this: If no one taught the CEO how to be CEO, how would they know? (and….you can insert any position into the space we put the letters CEO).

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