Leadership training does not cure incompetent leadership!

Attending an executive training or reading innumerable books on leadership does not make you a leader.

This goes beyond the age-old argument of whether leaders are made or born. That useless debate has been put to bed a long time ago.

Leadership training at best introduces process driven, static and one-dimensional thinking.

It fills the head with knowledge of the subject, but we can’t be a leader with information alone.

The individuals who demonstrated poor leadership behaviour such as micro management for example were the same ones nodding their heads to the negative impacts of this management style in the classroom. Then, the very next day those are the same people, who were in such agreement are behaving with the same poor behaviour.

Training people this way does not address the obvious: lack of accountability for self-awareness and thereby sustained behaviour change that produces better result after the training.

Think about it this way: You signed up for music lessons and practiced exactly the amount of time your teacher told you to practice. No more. No less. Now, ready to kick-start your career as a professional musician? It was then, you realised you would never be a great musician, because a great musician would have been practicing at every spare moment she had — not just the prescribed 30 minutes per day.

And so it is leadership. The multibillion industry that intended to develop leaders has failed the organisations and society. It’s time to boldly say “the emperor has no clothes.”

So what does this mean for executives and business owners who want to develop leaders to help fuel growth in their organisations?

Organisations need “fertile soil” in place before the “seeds” of training interventions can grow.

If we can select people who have a burning desire and ongoing commitment to being a better leader and set up an environment for them, we’ll have much more success training people.

Leadership is service, not an entitlement!

They don’t want to interact with employees as humans, but just as numbers or statistics tasked with carrying a job.

They’re not invested in their people’s success, just their own.

They seek praise without lifting a finger.

When things go wrong, they are quick to throw others under the bus.

They rise to their level of incompetence.

They are living examples of the Peter Principle.

With less than stellar performance, their titles are elevated on the basis of seniority.

They get awarded with huge bonuses and pay packages.

They get the coveted corner office.

They’re called management. They’re called leaders.

They didn’t want to serve people; they wanted to sit in glory.

Leadership is service and not an entitlement.

Exit interviews, the sacred cow?

“It’s a closer commute.”

“I wanted to take time off work to go travelling.”

“I’m leaving for personal reasons. I’ve learned a lot here and will miss the people I worked with.”

But it’s not always as black and white as that.

The very reasons people are leaving sound exactly the same as when somebody break up with the person they’re dating. “It’s not you; it’s me.”

In other words, expect a very polite lie. Exit interviews have long been a one-way street.

What went wrong? Why are they leaving? You’ve missed the point.

If you haven’t been asking your employees about their concerns and grievances while they were employed and what would keep them at the company at least for another year, you aren’t going to have a “come to Jesus” experience reading the dark satire of an employee no longer at your company.

The exit interview shouldn’t be the first time employees are asked how they think about things.

That’s because the time for learning is past. The time for a better conversation is past.

The worst time to read advice is right after a break-up.

It’s too late to shut the stable door after the horse has bolted.

Sure, you want constructive feedback.

But by all means a departing employee is the last person who’s going to give it to you straight.

There is very little upside in a tell-all exit interview.

It’s not the idea that’s broken, it’s the focus.

Foster the conversation each day. Talk through challenges.

Everybody wins this way.