Leadership development schemes ‘have been for nothing’

Nearly a decade of employers trying to develop leaders has been for nothing, according to a new report.

The Global Leadership Forecast 2008/2009, released by business leadership consultancy DDI and the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), found attempts over the past eight years to improve leadership in UK businesses are failing to deliver necessary outcomes, with just two in five leaders saying they were happy with their opportunities for development.

When the question was first asked in 2001, 41% said they were happy, with this number rising to almost 55% in 2003 and 2005. But in 2008, the number is back where it started at 41%, and Steve Newhall, vice-president for Europe at the DDI, told Personnel Today he was completely surprised.

“It’s a shocking statistic,” said Newhall. “We have made no progress whatsoever.”

Newhall believes the problem lies squarely on the shoulders of chief officers.

“There is still some discrepancy between senior leaders who are reporting the importance of leadership and actually putting their time, money and commitment where their mouth is in terms of supporting the agenda,” said Newhall.

“Organisations making progress on this are doing several things differently from ones that are suffering, and unsurprisingly the most important one is having genuine commitment from the top of the organisations.”

Half the HR directors polled said they had a process in place to identify high potentials, but barely two in five had a programme to capitalise on the results.

The survey also found executives’ top three business priorities were growth, improved customer relationships and improving talent, but the accountability of senior management was the least important aspect of leadership development programmes.




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