Category Archives: Leadership Development

5 Reasons Your Organization Should Invest in Leadership Development Training

Having a solid leadership group is essential in business, which is why leadership development training is so important.

Companies that lack leadership tend to suffer from higher turnover, decreased productivity, and lower morale. They can also experience issues with absenteeism.

There’s currently a significant leadership gap for companies all over the country. In fact, a 2018 whitepaper put together by the Association for Talent Development’s Public Policy Advisory Group reports that 52% of businesses have leadership and executive skills gaps, suggesting that many leaders don’t have the necessary skill set to be in that position.

The same study notes that 47% of people don’t believe the current workforce has the skills to replace the outgoing generation, and 35% think their companies aren’t investing enough in leadership training.

These numbers are alarming, but organizations can get ahead of things by investing in some leadership development training today.

Here’s a look at five ways this training can benefit your company.

1) Improve Financial Performance

Naturally, the bottom line is vital to every business, and investing in human capital can pay off in a big way.

Having a focused leadership team helps build the capacity to drive new revenue streams, improve customer service, and reduce operating costs, all of which improve the organization’s financial performance.

Leaders with the necessary training also do a better job of keeping employees on task and performing to their potential, which saves money in the long run.

2) Promote Role Clarity

One critical element leadership development training focuses on is role clarity. The gist is that when every team member understands their role within the organization and how it influences the company as a whole, they report better job satisfaction.

Role clarity also limits job overlap, reducing confusion in the workplace and allowing the leadership team to assign tasks more efficiently.

In a well-run workplace, managers should understand every team member’s role, and these employees should know what’s expected of them on a day-to-day basis.

3) Attract and Retain Talent

Solid leadership knows the value of attracting and retaining talent, both of which are invaluable for the organization as a whole.

In fact, a 2018 study by consulting service provider Mercer suggests that close to one-third of all employees planned to quit their jobs in the next 12 months.

Reasons for quitting include a lack of appreciation, an inadequate relationship with management, absence of career growth, negative corporate culture, poor mental health, and feeling burnt out.

You can trace all these factors back to the organization’s leadership. However, leadership training assists managers and executives in treating employees right, ensuring they stick around for years to come and take the company to the next level.

4) Create a Culture of Accountability

Accountability is vital in the corporate world, and it starts at the top. When leadership passes the blame onto others whenever something goes wrong, it creates a culture where avoiding accountability and responsibility is more important than completing the job correctly.

Leadership development training helps create a culture of accountability within the organization where every team member knows their responsibilities and is accountable to their peers, bosses, and themselves when they don’t meet expectations.

The result is a closer-knit community within the office where every team member strives to reach a common goal.

5) Close the Skills Gap

Finally, leadership development training can help organizations close the skill gap within the company. When the company doesn’t have enough leadership or the existing leaders don’t have the skillset to manage the team, it becomes obvious when the group fails to meet expectations.

Closing the skills gap involves elevating the leadership team to the level they need to be while also creating leadership bench strength where every team member strives to become a leader. Leadership bench strength is vital when the current leadership group is preoccupied, moves on to other opportunities, or retires because it makes the changeover far more efficient, as well.

The Leadership Training You Need

Leadership development training can help you set your organization up for success. You’ll also see the education you provide for your managers and executives trickle down to other team members.

The result is a more efficient, cohesive workplace with a culture that attracts talent and keeps them within the organization.

The Leadership Development Institute’s leadership coaches and consultants are some of the most experienced organizational development experts in Silicon Valley and Bay Area. We can assist as you make the changes necessary to take your business to the next level. Contact the Leadership Development Institute for more information on the strategic guidance we provide.

Are You a One-Pitch Leader?

Baseball season is around the corner and I couldn’t help but infuse the title of this article with some of the vernacular from our national pastime.

In baseball, the term “one pitch pitcher” refers to a pitcher who is overly reliant on one type of pitch (fastball, curveball, etc.) to be effective. History tells us this approach has limitations and ultimately limited success. They lack the versatility in their repertoire of pitches to solve the many different kinds of situations they face in the course of a game. Experts will tell you that the best pitchers have 3-4 different pitches they can throw at any given time and at any velocity they choose to solve the predicament in front of them.

Now, imagine that you are the leader of an organization and have many competitors who are looking to beat you to market and/or dominate market share. Let’s take this scenario one step further and give you “one pitch capability” and we’ll give your competitors “three pitch capability” to solve all the problems that come your collective way. Now, the bad news, you are not going to win this competition. We’re sorry, we know that one pitch has carried you a long way and you have been successful wherever you have “played”. However the game has changed. The market place is changing daily, the complexity of data coming at you is mind boggling, innovation cycles are becoming shorter and shorter and what once made you successful now has you out of breath.

We can guess with some degree of accuracy what happened to you. Here is a short list of possibilities.

1.  You just don’t like coming out of your comfort zone.

2.  You have over-relied on a set of leadership behaviors that are not too different from each other and were greatly rewarded for this approach. It could be any set of behaviors. For our purpose we’ll choose decisiveness, hard driving and being directive. All great qualities but in the realm of leadership it translates to one pitch….FASTBALL! This is limiting. It leaves you with very little leadership versatility. Your predictable.

3.  You greatly over value one aspect of leadership and strongly under value the opposite behavior. For example you might greatly over value decisiveness and almost completely dismiss consensus building. This could leave you very “lopsided” in this area of leadership and cause you to make a misinformed decision, leave people out of the process and ultimately not gain followership from key stakeholders. You won’t miss or fail a high percentage of the time, but enough to impact your career and your organization.

Here is the bottom line, the executive leadership development field has really never measured/assessed for leaders overusing their strengths. More of a good thing is always better….right? In fact what’s wrong with being decisive, hard driving and directive? Nothing actually, unless you are doing it most of the time with most of the problems you are trying to solve. If you mixed up your “pitches” and at the right time threw in some listening, asked for other opinions, facilitated dialogue between two opposing views from other leaders and called for additional data……well then you would be that more versatile and an effective leader who has 3-4 “pitches” they can rely on to get the best outcome.

So how do you uncover whether or not you have become a one pitch leader?


1. Pull out your most recent 360 review and capture the themes where people have indicated you’re doing too much of a particular behavior.

2. Now, to the best of your ability make note of what meetings and with what people you are over-doing these behaviors.

3. In order to balance out your behaviors and “show up” differently, look to demonstrate behaviors that are at the other end of the behavioral continuum. For example if people have indicated that your point of view tends to dominate meetings you could counter that with several possibilities; that might include a)asking questions to gather more data, b)asking someone else for their perspective or c)even “softening” your point of view with a caveat that sounds like: “I could be off the mark here, but I do think that we need to pursue this path of action…….

4. Ask for feedback. Let someone you know and trust what you are working on and ask them to give you feedback on what they’ve observed.


Your objective is to become a versatile leader who can bring the right amount of the right behavior and the right time and be the most effective leader you can be. This is not easily done and perfection is not the goal here. Becoming more versatile in your leadership approach to solving big problems is our objective.

Let’s dialogue about this. Let me know what you have uncovered for yourself and perhaps I can come back to you with some ideas on how to bring more “pitches” to your leadership repertoire with our executive coaching services!

The Business Benefits Of Leadership Development

The Business Benefits Of Leadership Development

In today’s business world of ever increasing change, it is always easier to justify focusing on the immediate needs of the bottom line or latest crisis; and pay less attention to the underlying issues that ultimately drive long-term success.   One of top underlying issues for most organizations is leadership development.   Companies that develop effective and adaptable leaders are those that stay ahead of the change curve, learn to adapt and consequently grow and prosper.

Are today’s employers confident that they are producing managers and leaders they need for the future? According to a Harvard Business Publishing Survey of Global Executives in September, 2013: “leaders lack the skills to achieve strategic goals, and the need to develop stronger leadership capability extends to middle managers, who are being asked to do more than ever before.”  Only 32% of the 800+ respondents believe that their organizations have the right leadership talent and skills to achieve their organizations’ strategic goals, according to the survey results

There is little doubt that today’s management believe in principal that there is a clear connection between the quality of an organization’s leadership practices, and subsequent intentions by employees to stay with an organization, perform at a high level, and apply discretionary effort.  Let’s take a look at what Leadership Skills and Development Practices are needed in today’s business environment.

Leadership Skills to Have and to Develop:

  • Commitment, Resolve and Perseverance – driving every aspect of the organization towards a singular unified purpose.
  • Risk Taking – breaking conventions and developing new products and services to establish marketplace dominance.
  • Planning – although a leader does not get too involved in the details, he/she must orchestrate a high-level plan that drives everyone towards the unified goal.
  • Motivating – an effective leader encourages contributions from the entire organization, navigates the specific motivator of each individual or group to push the right buttons and to inspire employees at every level. He/She strives to achieve not only their personal best but the best for the organization as a whole.
  • Communication skills that rely on active listening – his/her skills incite others to work towards the goal in line with the path the leader has chosen.
  • Goal Oriented – being able to identify and focus on working towards and completing both short and long terms organizational goals.
  • Adaptability – the ability to thrive and work in a changing environment;  finding new and innovative ways to solve problems and accomplish goals.
  • Group Interaction and Dynamics – being able to effectively lead and manage others within the dynamics of the organizational group and team to resolve conflicts, engage employees and optimize performance.

Why Do Organizations Invest In Management And Leadership Development?

One will be hard-pressed to find a successful company today which has survived the ups and downs of economic cycles in the past ten years that does not have a leadership development strategy.  Companies invest in development programs:

  • To achieve organizational objectives, as it provides benchmarks, tools and insights into leading practices.
  • To improve manager’s performance, who can positively impact both organizational culture and the bottom line. Leadership development is not just about developing leaders, but it is about creating a culture of performance. There is a relationship between good management and employee commitment. Great leaders attract, hire and inspire great people.
  • To better understand the relevance of developmental activities and be able to identify gaps that need to be filled in their own and other’s management skills.
  • To increase employee retention – develops and uses talent effectively. Providing leadership development for internal staff is more effective than hiring externally, because internal candidates know the organization and how to navigate it.
  • To manage change more effectively – enhance the ability to respond to rapid shifts in the environment through leaders who can understand how to manage change and respond to resistance.
  • To increase competitive advantage.
  • To support business growth – individuals can understand the direction in which their target market is moving and be able to create products that support this movement.
  • To improve and increase employee engagement.  In organizations where the management development activity are higher, employee engagement levels are also higher. Employee engagement and productivity have a great impact on customer satisfaction and revenue.

The bottom line is that Leadership Development adds to and improves a company’s bottom line.  An organization that invests in developing its employees as effective managers and leaders will be able to create a sustainable advantage in the increasingly complex and competitive business world. Highly effective managers can easily outperform competitors and have a significant impact on their employees and the world. Better leadership practices can improve an organization’s bottom line by thousands or millions of dollars, depending on the size of the organization and current gaps in management practices.

Leadership development programs can provide a genuine change in a person’s life and have a massive impact on his/her competence at work, approach to work and employee engagement. So, organizations and corporations who invest in developing their next generation of leaders and managers are those organizations and corporations who will see the many benefits at both micro and macro levels in terms personal well-being as well as competitive advantage in today’s and future marketplace.

What Is Leadership Versatility?

In our earlier post we mentioned our work with Kaplan and Kaiser the authors of the book The Versatile Leader. Today we would like to open up for discussion the concept of leadership versatility.

From our perspective leadership versatility is the capability to flex as needed on a pair of opposing leadership virtues. We work with leaders to aspire to versatility in a two-sided sense. For example being direct and respectful of people’s feelings or if you are a team leader who doesn’t hesitate to provide direction can you remember to perform the complementary function of asking for other’s input?

All of us over time develop a bias and hence a preferred behavior or mindset that would impact the examples above. We tend to then either over-use and/or under-utilize those leadership behaviors. This translates to leaders getting out of balance and in some cases “lopsided”. “Lopsidedness” occurs when a leader combines extreme over-use of one strength in combination with the complete disregard for it’s leadership opposite. The classic example is someone who is very strategic/visionary and on the flip side pays no attention to how their vision will get operationalized. In a very real sense the dominant preference crowds out the weaker side.

So here is an exercise to try on right now. Think about your very preferred ways of leading…a list of one word adjectives. Follow that up with identifying the complementary opposite of each of those preferred behaviors.
Take note of how long/hard it is for you to come up with the opposites. More importantly ask yourself how frequently do you call on these non-preferred behaviors in your leadership role?

When we are coaching we frequently ask our clients to think “volume control”. The idea is to get the “volume” right, for example, neither pushing too hard nor not hard enough.

In our next post we’ll talk about strategies/tools to bring more versatility to your leadership.
We’re interested in your thoughts on this subject so please be in touch.

Jeff and Karen