Why Leadership Training Fails When Delivered by Leaders Within


The success of a company is reliant on good leadership. Here are some statistics to chew on:   


  • 36% of new leaders fail within their first one and a half years.  
  • 69% of millennials feel a lack of leadership development. 
  • Delays in leadership development can cost a company 7% in annual sales!   


It’s time to toss out our internal leadership programs and elevate our training and support of our leaders. 


In a blink of an eye, summer is gone, and we are in September, a month for many that symbolize new beginnings and change.  


For organizations, September is a month where we dive back into a routine, re-evaluate initiatives and assess our progress toward our goals. It’s also an opportune time to take a look at organizational training.  


It’s undeniable that employees want to grow and learn. Simply providing internal training to “teach” isn’t enough and, quite frankly, ineffective.  


We all want to see a return on investment in our training programs. When considering the costs of designing and delivering some training, we hope the training equips our people with the know-how to execute these new skills effortlessly. But the reality is internal training, specifically leadership training, fails.  


Why does leadership training conducted internally fail?  


  1. Limited time and expertise: Often, companies design and deliver training reactively, and training is an “off the side of our desk” task. Delegating leadership training to trainers with little or no experience in training will ensure training misses the mark. Trainers can make or break the effectiveness of a program. Strong and trained facilitators make learning fun and engaging, adopting adult learning techniques to ensure skills in the classroom transfer into real life.
  2. Inadequate planning: To fill the ask of “we need more training,” organizations scramble to create a training course. The intent is good, but the planning could be better. With little assessment of the program’s current skills, gaps, and needs, leadership training is put together blindly. The result is that the content is too general or, even worse, irrelevant. 
  3. Lack of feedback: When putting together training, garnering input before, during, and after training is critical. While we see some organizations solicit feedback before putting training together, we rarely see organizations gather intel during, after and on an ongoing basis. This leads to outdated content that doesn’t speak to the needs and wants of those participating. The result is a lack of buy-in and participation in training, with leaders viewing training as a mandated and useless program. Zero return on investment!   


If we continue to piece together leadership programs internally, people will revert to old or accepted ways of doing things. There will be no sharpening of skills and little return on investment!  


So, what will help cement the training into transformational change and strengthen leadership habits and norms? Here are six tips:  


  1. Seek professional consultation from external trainers to help facilitate a discovery, design a tailored program, and deliver training with expertise to build credibility from the get-go. 
  2. Provide ongoing leadership coaching to hone in on individual obstacles and explore strategies to sharpen day-to-day skills. 
  3. Determine key metrics to gauge sought-after behavioural performance and assess before, during and after training. 
  4. Garner buy-in from senior leadership on the importance of training and map out critical objectives of leadership programs. 
  5. Gather input from all levels to identify gaps in leadership and potential skills to develop to overcome these. 
  6. Review the content of leadership programs regularly to ensure continued alignment with current needs, gaps and organizational strategy.


Leadership training failure is avoidable.  


The most important thing organizations can do is ensure that leaders, emerging or seasoned, are set up for continued success and provided with tailored, relevant and transformative training and learning. Yes, it’s hard work, but it will be, oh, so worth it! Trust us!  



Sofia and Linda_Lead Vantage


At Lead Vantage, we take pride in developing a custom program for leaders that stick!  


Your business needs leaders who can adapt to changing responsibilities, build trust with their teams, and confidently hold tough conversations.  


At Lead Vantage, we help you develop the skills your leaders need to drive productivity and accountability ― so they can confidently lead their teams toward success. 


Contact us to elevate your leadership programs! 

Sofia Arisheh

Sofia Arisheh

Sofia Arisheh is a certified HR strategist, leader, and educator with extensive experience in multiple sectors. She specializes in aligning HR strategy with business strategy, focusing on employee-centric approaches to drive better business results.

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