According to Gap International, 72% of corporate executives consider it “very important” to increase the capacity of the leaders at their company (e.g., expanding their thinking, capabilities, and/or bandwidth).
However, only 43% of the same company executives foresee investing in leadership training. Why is there such a large discrepancy between companies wanting better leaders and their willingness to invest in it? The answer may be a lack of understanding about the value of developing leadership bench strength. To fill that gap, this article offers some information about four aspects of what executive team leadership development is and how a company’s greater appreciation for it can pay off big time.
1) Poor Leadership is Expensive
Often, a company may feel disinclined to invest money into executive-leadership development. After all, there are many other departments and areas of the business (technology, research, and development, etc.) that could use that capital.
Unfortunately, poor leadership can be a huge drain on a company’s assets. Here are just a few of the negative effects of bad leaders:
- High employee turnover
- Low employee loyalty to the business
- Inflexible or change-averse employees
- Disengaged employees
- Undeveloped or underdeveloped skills
- Low confidence and low productivity
- Wasted knowledge and experience of veteran workers
- Bad decision-making
- Poor customer service
Yes, developing good leaders requires an investment of both time and money, but your company simply can’t afford the far-reaching costs of poor leadership—now or at any time in the future.
2) The Difference Between Leadership Training and Leadership Development
One reason companies often opt out of leadership development is that seeing or measuring the results of such a program can be difficult, leading some to believe that they don’t work. Before investing in any program, it’s essential to know the difference between leadership training and leadership development.
Training is important, but it can often be one-sided, one-dimensional, one-directional, and offer a one-size-fits-all mentality. Training focuses on compliance, maintenance, and standardization.
With this type of system, it can be nearly impossible to think outside the box, focus on future needs, and enhance skills across the board. In essence, it can set your leaders (and company) up for failure.
A good development program will help prepare your leaders to handle unexpected obstacles, adversity, losses, and even their own success.
Deliberate, methodical coaching at all levels allows the organization to enjoy smoother transitions when business pursuits change or leadership roles shift. Since the goal of leadership-development programs is to prepare the next generation of workers to lead the business, guiding and helping employees grow earlier on will mean much less disruption to the system when unexpected changes arise.
3) A High Level of Organizational Support Is Required
It’s not at all unusual for the actions of a great individual leader to be rewarded on an individual basis (i.e. high salary, bonuses, and other lone acknowledgments). This results in behaviors that impede team collaboration and diminish the likelihood of employee loyalty.
To pull off true leadership development, a high level of support is required from your organization, as is a cohesive, shared vision of the direction you are headed. Without a compelling sense and clear articulation of which course to follow, team members won’t buy into the plan and are likely to focus on maximizing their own success rather than the success of the team.
Forging team camaraderie early and allowing time for members to develop together builds a higher level of comfort and mutual trust. This is a powerful tool that can also become a significant competitive advantage for the company.
Teams being compelled to work and achieve things together sometimes requires a complete culture shift within the organization. For this to work, rather than backfire, every executive, mid-level manager, and individual employee needs to feel that they are an integral part of a workplace environment that fosters comprehensive communication, talent expansion, and upward mobility.
Above all, your executives should always be held to higher standards than anyone else.
4) An Investment in Leadership-Team Development Pays Off
The scaffolding of a good leader is comprised of a variety of characteristics that, when developed together, become a comprehensive set of highly desired skills and values. Optimally, you leader will possess the following:
- Subject mastery
- A firm grasp on reality
- A proven ability to communicate well
- Listening skills and comprehension of unspoken cues
- Ability to inspire employees to boost their morale
- A well-developed sense of justice
- Authenticity, sincerity, and transparency
- Inclusivity and respect
- Initiative and assertiveness
- Recognition of others’ strengths and talents
- Recognition of their own weaknesses and mistakes
- The ability to attract and retain talent
- The ability to handle critical or drastic events
Findings from the ICF Global Coaching Client Study show two significant insights on the opinions of organizations around the world who have experienced professional coaching:
- 82.7% of global responders were very satisfied overall with the coaching experience.
- 96.2% of global responses affirmatively answered the question, “Given the same circumstances that led you to get a coach, would you repeat the coaching experience again?”
As the study shows, companies who invest in leadership-team development have seen significant success—so much so that they admit that they simply can’t afford to pass on investing in the future leaders of their company. As it is with your company.
CMOE can help you choose the right leaders, and train new and existing leaders in your organization. Our resources help build valuable leadership and team-leading skills, contact us to start improving your company today.