Despite their lofty positions, most top executives have had less than a
month’s leadership training and development.
New research from The Change Partnership, part of the Whitehead Mann Group, shows
that the most leadership development received by any of the senior UK
executives surveyed was four to eight weeks – with three weeks the average.
Some even admitted they had received no dedicated leadership development at
In contrast, technical skills had been a priority for the respondents, with
the average having between one and three years’ training during their careers.
The survey questioned 85 senior UK executives – half from FTSE 100 companies
– and found that more than a third cited ’embedding the culture’ as the single
most difficult task they faced. It also found that more than half claimed
‘changing mindsets and behaviours’ was a key leadership challenge.
Susan Bloch of The Change Partnership said: "Typically, executives are
promoted on the basis of their technical, strategic and commercial skills.
"But when they are promoted to a leadership role, the skills pendulum
swings, making their leadership and interpersonal skills far more important.
This can create challenges, but by this stage many executives have dipped out
of appraisal systems and their needs go undetected.
"As companies fail to formalise development programmes and neglect
leadership, it is not surprising executives struggle to develop the skills they
When asked who had been the most positive influence on their career, a third
of respondents cited past managers, while a quarter said their current manager.
By Quentin Reade