Signs You’re Going About Leadership in the Wrong Way

Apr 3, 2017Leadership

Signs you’re getting leadership development wrong


The majority of leadership development programmes fail, not because of a lack of good intent, but because of a lack of clarity and focus.

The landscape of leadership is changing. Leaders of today are expected to be versatile and to possess a whole manner of competencies.

On top of this, the impending leadership drought and skill gap is leading to a decline in high quality, effective leaders.

Here are some signs that you might be getting leadership development wrong, according to leadership expert, Ron Price.


#1: You chose a one-size-fits-all leadership development programme


No two leaders are ever going to have the exact same challenges with the same people, in the same environment and in an identical work context.

It just doesn’t work that way.

And yet, very often this is exactly the approach that many leadership development programmes take.

Usually one-size-fits-all training programmes follow a classroom style, where people sit and listen to somebody deliver information. However, as Ron Price mentions in his blog, three months down the line, people only retain an average of 15% of what they learned in a classroom-style setting.


leadership development


But when this is combined with coaching and regular communication and interaction, this figure goes up to 85%.

Leadership development needs to take unique situations into account in order to be truly effective.


#2: You’re recruiting a whole new set of leaders


Deciding that you’re going to begin a whole new recruitment effort to get new leaders is a sign that you might be going about leadership development in the wrong way.

It’s far more likely that developing talent from within for leadership positions is a more effective strategy.

These people will have learned and grown with the organisation, and will be loyal and dedicated to developing the business. They will also be familiar with the culture and goals of the organisation and its people.

That’s not to say that you should NEVER recruit leaders from outside the organisation, but it’s certainly a clever strategy to develop leaders internally where possible.


#3: You’re overlooking Millennials and people in the middle of the company


A very common, unfortunate mistake organisations make is putting all leadership development efforts into top levels of management.

As Ron Price points out, we have a tendency to believe that C-level leaders have the most influence, but in reality, it is the leaders in the middle of organisations that have the greatest financial impact.

These are the leaders who work face-to-face with ground staff and usually have a greater influence on day-to-day operations.

Similarly, Millennials – who now make up more than half the workforce – are eager to advance their careers. They are hungry for effective, interactive leadership development programmes that move beyond the traditional classroom style approach.

Simply investing in C-level leaders and overlooking these emerging leaders is a waste of resources and talent.


#4: You’re placing too much emphasis on experience


Too often it’s the case that, regardless of suitability for the role, the person who has been in the organisation the longest is the one who gets promoted.

The role may not suit the person’s natural talents, behavioural style or passions, or perhaps there’s another person in the organisation who would be a far better fit for the job.

Ron Price remarks that in this scenario, people are often over-promoted until they eventually become ineffective. And from there there’s nowhere else for them to go in the company. As a result their productivity and engagement levels will drop.

The solution to this is to use TTI tools to help determine a person’s potential based on their behaviours, driving forces, acumen, competencies and EQ.

Understanding the unique makeup of an individual can be a powerful predictor of future success. Don’t rely on past experience alone.


How to get your leadership development right


So far we’ve looked at how to tell if your leadership development programme is bound for failure. A programme I have found to really work every time is The Complete Leader.

This is a leadership development program designed to develop the leadership skills necessary to elevate leadership to the next level. Through a mix of hands-on learning, presentations, study, and one-on-one coaching, participants spend 12 months working on essential leadership skills.

It takes a tailored approach in that the participant is assessed using psychometrics before and after the programme in order to measure tangible behavioural change.

The participant chooses which of the 25 scientifically identified leadership competencies are most relevant for them, and then is supported throughout the journey.

The leadership skills are divided into four clear qualities:


Leaders are clear thinkers


Thinking skills are crucial for effective leadership.

The skills associated with clear thinking are futuristic thinking, conceptual thinking, planning and organisation, creativity, problem solving ability, continuous learning and decision making.

For lots of great resources on these and all 25 of the leadership skills, visit The Complete Leader website.


Leaders lead themselves


Leaders are adept at managing and leading themselves towards success.

Self-management, personal accountability, flexibility, resilience and goal achievement are all specific skills that, when developed, can mean that a leader is adept at leading themselves.


leadership development

Leaders lead others


The ability to effectively lead others is crucial for good leadership. The competencies associated with this are:

Empathy, understanding and evaluating others, presenting, written communication, diplomacy and tact, interpersonal skills, persuasion, negotiation, conflict management, teamwork, employee development and coaching and customer focus.

The Complete Leader programme provides practical training on developing these skills.


Leaders are authentic


Perhaps the most defining characteristic of a true leader is that they are authentic. They are familiar with their strengths and weaknesses and are true to themselves without putting on a false identity.

How about you, what’s unique about you? Are you courageous enough to embrace your uniqueness and develop it to its highest potential?


Each phase of your leadership journey requires different skills

Early career leadership skills


Starting out isn’t always easy. New leaders will find that there are certain skills that will mean the difference between leadership success and failure.

The learning curve can be sharp, but mastering the following leadership skills will lay the foundations for a really effective leader to emerge.

To begin with, leaders must learn to lead themselves. It’s important for leaders to hold themselves personally accountable and become adept at achieving goals early on in their leadership careers.

Flexibility and resilience – the ability to bounce back and get back in the arena after setbacks – are also crucially important.

Becoming a self-expert means laying the foundations for leading others to greatness.


leadership development

Middle career leadership skills


At this stage, the leader has some basic experience leading others, but there’s still a lot of room for development.

Strengths and weaknesses will become more apparent, allowing the leader to recognise in what areas they can excel and what areas they could improve on.

In the middle of a leadership career, a leader needs to focus on presentation skills and their ability to persuade others, make effective negotiations and resolve conflicts.

These are crucial for developing into a leader that can run high performing teams and organisations.

Most essentially, the challenge of middle career leadership development is to keep making progress! Never assume you know it all, because you don’t.


Highest level of influence leadership skills


As you move up the leadership ladder towards the highest levels of influence and the peak of your career, thinking skills become really important.

Most critically, a leader must reflect and take an active approach to developing self awareness. Learn how to most effectively work with people who have different behaviours, motivators, driving forces and acumen than you. To try a free assessment click here.

To take an organisation or a team to the next level, you must be able to consistently envision a brighter future, no matter what challenges might come your way during the process.

Problem solving skills are undoubtedly really important, as are planning and organising skills.

In a similar way, the desire to continuously learn and find new, creative ways of doing things will help you stand out as an exceptional, authentic leader.


Final thoughts…


Some signs you’re getting leadership development wrong include choosing a one-size-fits-all approach, overlooking middle managers, recruiting leaders from outside the company and placing too much emphasis on experience.

The Complete Leader programme is a tailored leadership programme that works. It helps leaders become clear thinkers, lead themselves and others and become authentic through developing competencies in the 25 leadership skills.

These skills vary in importance at different points of a leader’s career.

Is your company making any of above leadership development mistakes? The Complete Leader can help.

Get in touch today to talk about how we can provide a tailored leadership development program for your organization. What are you waiting for?

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Padraig Berry, CEO of TTI Success Insights Ireland will interview Ron Price, global leadership performance speaker and author of The Complete Leader.

Ron Price – Author: The Complete Leader








Find out more about The Complete Leader at our one time, exclusive interview with the Author; Ron Price. He will speak about the future of leadership and be available to answer any questions you have about The Complete Leader programme.

Padraig Berry – CEO: TTI Success Insights


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