Breaking Down Barriers to Leadership Development Success

Published on
September 27, 2023
The BetterManager Team
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One of the most prevalent challenges investing in your organization's leadership development initiatives organizations encounter is a lack of expertise in data collection, analysis, and presentation. The truth is, many organizations struggle to cultivate the necessary skills for these crucial aspects of leadership development and that the journey to success can be fraught with challenges.

In BetterManager's 2023 study on the ROI of leadership development programs, it identified three key barriers that hinder organizations from realizing their full potential in L&D programming:

Lack of Expertise with Data - Organizations often struggle to harness the power of data for their leadership development efforts.

Shortage of Program Leaders - Organizations often have difficulty finding dedicated individuals to lead these initiatives.

Absence of Evaluation Processes -Many organizations lack structured methods to evaluate the effectiveness of their leadership development programs.

How to overcome key barriers

To overcome these challenges, the following guidance will empower your organization on how to overcome the three most prevalent barriers and unleash the full potential of your leadership development endeavors.

Lack of Expertise with Data Collection, Analysis, and Presentation

The Challenge: Companies and C-suites heavily rely on data, underscoring the critical role of data-driven insights in the success of leadership development programs. Data, or the lack thereof, can either make or break these programs and significantly impact the company's bottom line and profitability.

How to Overcome: Choose an L&D platform that provides better learning outcome visibility

As you search for a learning and development or employee coaching platform, you want to ensure it has the capabilities to pinpoint the areas where your people leaders need the most assistance. 

You may want to consider factors such as:

360º Surveys
Aligned with industry benchmarks help assess high-performing managers and teams. These surveys offer insights into your leaders' existing strengths and pinpoint specific areas for improvement, all tracked and evaluated over time."

Best Practices & Key Behaviors

Ensure your platform is aligned with industry-leading practices and critical behaviors drawn from authoritative sources.

Practical Feedback

Learning plans must provide managers with constructive feedback from their peers and team members regarding their leadership performance. Such feedback will provide valuable insights into areas where specific training may be required.

Actionable Insights for HR/People Ops Teams

Real-time data insights are essential to support the development of your managers. This includes the ability to measure your managers' growth in real time. Insights should grant immediate access to aggregated organizational trends and real-time progress tracking, aiding in the identification of growth opportunities and the celebration of achievements. 

If your L&D platform can’t provide data that can’t provide areas for next steps can stall development of individuals. Consider the platform's capability to pinpoint your employees' current status and their growth areas. Evaluate how the tool enables ongoing progress tracking. Additionally, the inclusion of follow-up surveys in the tool allows you to monitor your managers' progress against established benchmarks for successful leadership over time.

Moreover, consider leveraging external consultants or experts who can guide you in harnessing the power of data without overwhelming your internal resources.

Lack of Staff to Lead Program Evaluation Efforts

Challenge: Another common obstacle in the world of leadership development is the challenge of finding dedicated individuals to lead these initiatives. The need for passionate champions is clear, but identifying and allocating the right talent for the job can be a daunting task.

Solution: Level up your managers!

One solution is to foster leadership development skills within your existing team. Encourage employees to take on leadership roles within the program. Offer mentorship and coaching to those who show promise and enthusiasm. This approach not only helps you identify potential leaders but also instills a sense of ownership among your workforce.

In addition, consider cross-functional teams to lead your leadership development efforts. Drawing from various departments can bring diverse perspectives and skills to the table. Collaboration can bridge the gap when dedicated staff is in short supply.

No Process in Place for Evaluating Efficacy of Leadership Development Programs

Challenge: Evaluating the effectiveness of leadership development programs is crucial for ensuring you're on the right track. Yet, many organizations lack a structured evaluation process, leaving them uncertain about whether their investments are paying off.

Solution: Begin by defining clear and measurable success metrics for your leadership development programs. What are the specific outcomes you hope to achieve? Once these metrics are in place, implement a systematic approach to collecting and analyzing data. This might involve using surveys, assessments, or tracking key performance indicators (KPIs).

Regularly review and assess your program's progress and make data-driven adjustments as needed. This iterative approach allows you to refine and improve your leadership development initiatives over time.

Considering measuring intangible benefits associated with leadership development programs:

  • Enhanced work quality
  • Increased productivity
  • Improved peer-to-peer communication
  • Elevated employee engagement
  • Greater project efficiency
  • Collaborative work culture
  • Improved employee attitude
  • Better internal company perception
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills
  • Higher job satisfaction
  • Talent pipeline for internal promotions
  • Positive impact on workplace culture
  • Improved reputation and employer brand

You can measure the efficacy of leadership development through cost avoidance.This may include reduced attrition rates, increased rates of promotion-from-within. Unlike reported revenue increases from sales, these two factors increase revenue through cost avoidance.

Giving quantifiable metrics for all of these areas that impact your organization’s bottom line can help you identify the investments and return on investment.

In 2023, an average investment of $1 yields a 7x return for businesses. Over 700 companies calculated using a formula that encompasses the above intangible benefits and how effective L&D programs became a profit multiplier by reducing other expenses associated with turnover, company morale, and productivity.

In Summary

Now that you have a deeper understanding of these common barriers and potential solutions, you're well-equipped to navigate the challenges of leadership development. To further your knowledge and access valuable insights and success stories, we invite you to download our full ROI Study. This comprehensive resource provides in-depth information and strategies from organizations that have successfully overcome these hurdles. 

We hope that this will assist you in progressing further on your path toward achieving effective leadership development and actionable data. If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to schedule a free consultation with us. 

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