Leaders Who Hit the Numbers – part 2

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The Three Overlooked Essentials of Leadership Development

Like so many businesses who are serious about developing their leaders, you have probably given a great deal of thought as to the most effective approach.

Perhaps you saw results at first, but more likely than not the investment you made disappeared when your leaders, fresh from training, were placed in a real world business context.

Why is this?

The answer is surprisingly simple: virtually every management course and book on the market ignores three vital elements of true leadership development.

In Part 1, we discussed the three unspoken downfalls of most leadership development packages. Now, we will examine exactly how to avoid them and what

SOLUTION 1: Develop a coherent sense of direction

You will have to overcome many obstacles on the way to success. Market forces, unforeseen circumstances and your competitors are going to throw problems in your path. This is one of the few certainties of business.

Developing a coherent sense of direction is the most important thing you can do to overcome these obstacles. No matter who you ask or how you ask it, you should get the same answer back about what you, as an organisation, want to achieve.

Leaders who hit the numbers must always be fully immersed in that sense of direction. Without it, they simply will not be able to push your business in the direction it needs to go.


SOLUTION 2: Clarify the leadership skills you need to achieve your business plan

istock_000013595819_largeThe next crucial step is to refine your leadership skills focus. There are a vast range of leadership styles to choose from, but only certain parts from each will be relevant to your unique business requirements.

Trying to develop leaders around one particular style may seem like a good idea, but all it means is that your leaders will be equipped with a variety of copy-pasted styles. Knowing which leadership skills to develop in order to achieve your vision and strategy is essential.

If you know your business direction, your leadership development must be focussed entirely on it.

SOLUTION 3: Run your leadership programme during business as usual

In Part 1, we discussed the essentiality of developing leaders within the context of your business, and there is no more effective way to achieve this than by running your leadership programme during ‘business as usual’.

Having a clear sense of your strategic direction and the leadership skills required to achieve it is fantastic, but nothing will drive these home more than running leadership development in a way that supports and facilitates the work required by your business plan.

You leaders should be developing their skills with the people they need to lead.

Why are these solutions missed?

These three factors are, to my mind, absolutely essential for developing truly effective leaders. All too often, however, they are ignored or overlooked in order to sell a certain style of leadership. Context is ignored in favour of a ‘one size fits all’ approach. In the long run, this is doomed to failure.

Leadership development must serve your business, not the other way around.


JohnJohn Sutherland is the managing director of Strategic Resource, one of the UK’s top management due diligence and bespoke leadership development firms.

You can read his full article “Leaders Who Hit The Numbers’. 

If you’re interested in developing leaders who hit the numbers, why not get in touch and find out how Strategic Resource can help you?

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