Why is Leadership Development Broken?

Why is Leadership Development Broken
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Written by: Ryan Gottfredson

Do you have leaders like Tom Coughlin in your organization? Let me explain.

Tom Coughlin is the former successful head football coach of the New York Giants, having won two Super Bowls with the Giants. Upon stepping down as the coach of the Giants, he took on the role of executive vice president of football operations for the Jacksonville Jaguars, a team that has historically been poor.

We have got to believe that in taking this new position, Tom Coughlin wanted to turn around the Jacksonville Jaguars to become a winning team and create an even greater legend for himself.

Unfortunately, Tom Coughlin’s influence was anything but positive.


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Because there are 32 teams in the NFL, the NFL players on the Jacksonville Jaguars represent approximately 3 percent of the NFL. Yet, according to the NFL Players Association, 25 percent of all complaints filed by NFL players this past season came from the Jacksonville Jaguars.

This was so bad that the NFL Players Association publicly stated that they could not recommend that any football players play for the Jacksonville Jaguars, which promptly led to Tom Coughlin’s firing. He had all of the good intentions in the world, desiring to have a positive impact on a low-performing team. Yet, despite his good intentions and hard work, his influence was actually negative.

So, do you have any “Tom Coughlins” in your organization? Leaders who have demonstrated prior success, yet despite any good intentions and hard work, their impact is less than positive?

The statistics on leadership effectiveness suggest that you do.

The Current State of Leader Effectiveness

I have yet to meet a leader that wants to have a negative impact on the organizations they lead and the people they serve. Yet, the following statistics have been reported across a variety of sources:

And, if that doesn’t make you sick enough, despite organizations spending close to $356 billion globally on leadership development, 75 percent of organizations rate their leadership development programs as not being very effective.

It appears that organizations’ leadership development efforts are commonly broken, or at least are not having the full positive effects we would like them to have.

Can You Imagine?

Can you imagine how your organization might be different if all of the “Tom Coughlin” leaders in your organization created outcomes that were more closely aligned with their positive intentions? How would that reduce conflict, enhance engagement, enhance retention, and affect your organization’s overall culture?

If you are anything like me, it is difficult to imagine just how different and better your organizational life would be.

We Need Your Help

Unfortunately, we do not have all the answers related to how organizations can more effectively develop their leaders. Thus, we want to gather your thoughts and insights on how effective your organization’s leadership development efforts.

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