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Today’s business environment is marked by intense competition, automation, uncertainty, and more. There is immense pressure to improve market share and profitability through enhanced efficiencies. The need for agile and versatile leaders who could grab opportunities and scale up companies’ performance has come to the forefront. Robust corporate leadership development programs have emerged as an effective solution for creating strong leaders.

Most organizations in India, such as Tata Group companies, Aditya Birla Group, Wipro Limited, Larsen and Toubro Ltd, Reliance India Limited, Adani Group, Merck, Pfizer, General Motors, etc invest in intensive leadership development programs for their senior leaders and managers to create a leadership pool within the organization.

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But do all programs yield results? Certainly not. Despite massive resources -financial and non-financial involved in learning & development processes, the result at times is disappointing. In this blog, we’ll skim through some of the key reasons that make company leadership development initiatives futile.

Nailing down the Reasons Why Leadership Development Programs Fail

Psychological unpreparedness and personal limitations

How well the trainees/learners ingest and employ the learned skills depend upon their underlying mindsets and personality traits. Taking up new responsibilities or spending time learning new skills is a burden for many. Now turning reluctant candidates into active and interested participants is a challenge. Understanding and addressing personal limitations can make a difference.

Discovering some of the deepest thoughts, assumptions and beliefs are prerequisite of behavioural change—one that is often overlooked in development programs. Promoting the virtue of delegation, for instance, appears good in theory, but successful adoption becomes difficult to achieve if the program participants have a “controlling” attitude. Hence, in such a scenario an organization must opt for the best leadership development programs in India, crafted smartly keeping in mind different mindsets and traits that need to be channelized for a desired outcome.

Lack of support from organizational set-up 

Organization is primarily a system of interacting elements that encompasses roles, responsibilities, and relationships defined by organizational structure, processes, leadership styles, cultural backgrounds, and HR policies & practices. For a leadership development program to become successful all these factors must be taken into consideration. Many times, development programs fail to make their marks because the system does not support and sustain individual behavioral change. A failure to execute on strategy is many times not caused due to individual deficiencies but, rather, due to the unfavourable policies and practices created by top management. These are critical aspects that need to be fixed to ensure longer-term gains from training programs.

Obsession for quick, tangible outcomes

In India, several organizations consider employees merely as resources that can be utilized for business advantage and growth. They fail to differentiate between human resources from other tangible and material resources. This creates a weak foundation that inhibits any development program (intangible and intrinsic) to reach its fruition. Organizations that are fixated on quick, tangible outcomes often relegate personal development and employee satisfaction to the background. This acts as a deterrent that stops the talent from mastering skills that define wholesome leadership and help them become leaders in the true sense.

Development programs viewed as One and Done 

Given leaders develop new behaviours and habits over time and there is constant pressure of upskilling, the idea of investing in a single event or short-term leadership development training can never yield concrete results. Leadership development process should not be considered a one-and-done approach. Instead, it should be adopted as continuous learning, opening up multiple learning options and modalities. Not to forget, the development processes should be redesigned to offer more opportunities for skill practice and application.


Competent and dynamic leaders are the main stake of any thriving organization. If you want your company to cut through the competition then make sure the above four mistakes in leadership development are taken care of. Push up chances of your business success by embedding leadership development in real work, identifying mindsets that underpin behaviour and ultimately, monitoring the results so that improvements can be introduced.

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