Leadership Development is Hard

May 30, 2018 by Wally Bock

Leadership development is hard to get right, and it seems like we’re coming up short. Martin Lanik, Ph.D., CEO of Pinsight® and the author of The Leader Habit analyzes why things aren’t working in his article, “Where Did We Go Wrong with Leadership Development?” He says:

“Clearly there is a global leadership problem, despite people’s desire to be better leaders, and despite the ever-increasing amount of money being spent on leadership development. Where are we going wrong?”

Lanik offers a detailed analysis of why we’re spending more and still not happy, Read the article, but also consider this. The real problem is that leadership development is hard, and the reasons don’t get much coverage.

Leadership development is hard for organizations

We’ve got a lot of challenges to meet. The workplace is changing all the time. So is learning technology. Those are important challenges, but they’re not the big problem.

The big problem is that leadership development is tree planting. The people who plant the trees and care for them, don’t get to enjoy the shade.

If you want that future payoff, you must put in the work. That work often doesn’t seem to matter. The temptation is to succumb to budget pressure or the pressure for short-term results. The hard part for organizational leaders is doing the right things over and over again, even when you won’t see the fruit of your labor.

Leadership development is hard for individuals

Development is hard for individual leaders and aspiring leaders for a different reason. It’s hard to learn new skills. You have to put in extra learning time if you want to develop as a leader. But the biggest challenge is rooted in human nature.

If you want to develop as a leader, you must face the truth about yourself and your performance. That’s hard for most people. We like to tell ourselves that we’re doing better than we are. It’s uncomfortable, but necessary.

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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