Most Leadership Development Training is Fluff


Let’s face it. Most, if not all, behaviors-based leadership development training programs are fluff. I’ve been through these programs and so have you. You know it’s true.

I am not saying that behavior-based leadership training programs are not helpful to some leaders at different points in the careers. But for most people ascending the corporate hierarchy, these programs are more like a rite of passage — a “tick-the-box” activity — than an effective method for improving corporate culture or achieving social change in organizations.

Generation after generation of leaders have participated in behavior-based leadership development training from the early 1900s through today. They are wildly successful as commercial endeavors, but wildly unsuccessful in terms of broad-based favorable outcomes in organizations. Why? Because the training solutions do not reflect an understanding of the root causes of the problem.

As you rise through the hierarchy and gain more power, you also gain more freedom to do as you please. And so most of the training becomes both a distant memory and a distant practice. And, as you get closer to the president or CEO level, you are much more likely to think and do things as they do. You will emulate the boss’s behaviors to fit in with that social group regardless of what you learned in your behaviors-based training courses. If you don’t fit in, you will soon be out of that special social group.

Furthermore, promotion depends far more on intangibles such as fit, chemistry, gut feel, and loyalty than the behaviors-based leadership development programs you have participated in or on your skills in translating what you learned into practice. This too, you know is true.

Are behaviors-based leadership development training programs the best we can do? No! Can we do better? Yes we can!

If you are serious about leadership development, behavior change, and culture change, then begin looking at a new conceptualization of leadership development that is based on the antecedent to behaviors: preconceptions.

Preconceptions → Beliefs → Behaviors → Competencies

In the books shown below, I make a convincing case that behaviors-based leadership training is long outdated and produces little in the way of useful results that matter to both leaders and especially followers. Basing leadership development training on leaders’ preconceptions will bring you much farther forward and produce greater tangible results than continuing along with outdated behaviors-based training programs.

Learn more about the books A Changed Perspective and The Workmanship of Leaders.

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