Why Is There A Scarcity of Exceptional Leaders?

In spite of the staggering expenditure on leadership training, CEOs continue to lament the absence of exceptional leaders within their organisations. In 2018 alone, businesses globally poured a staggering $366 billion into leadership development initiatives. However, this substantial investment has failed to yield the desired outcomes of producing high-quality leaders.

A well-known comment is that people do not leave companies; they leave poor bosses. Regrettably, this phenomenon persists all too frequently, resulting in significant financial losses for businesses and the departure of invaluable talent. The cultivation of exceptional leaders is paramount for businesses striving to thrive in the fiercely competitive landscape of today, particularly in the world of retail.

Several reasons contribute to the ineffectiveness of the colossal investment in leadership training:

1. Leadership is challenging and demands substantial effort. Many individuals selected for leadership roles are reluctant to embrace the additional challenges associated with leading people.

2. Some leadership training programs are simply inadequate. In the fast-paced, dynamic world we inhabit today, training must be engaging and interactive to captivate and retain the participants’ attention.

3. Timing is crucial, yet often overlooked. Most leaders receive training far too late, having already spent several years in their roles before receiving any form of leadership development. Astonishingly, the average age at which managers receive their first leadership training is 42, while the average age of first-time managers stands at a mere 30, according to the Harvard Business Review.
4. An overemphasis on training at the expense of coaching. Acquiring the skills to become an effective leader involves implementing new behaviours and shedding some old habits. This transformation is challenging to achieve without ongoing coaching in the workplace, as individuals can easily revert to their old ways.

It is imperative to identify leadership potential early on and provide training that equips emerging leaders for success, safeguarding them from burnout and failure. Supporting leaders must remain a top priority for companies, even after the completion of leadership training programs.

Roger Simpson – CEO, The Retail Solution and Author of “The Ultimate Retail Sales Experience” With over 35 years’ industry experience, Roger Simpson is recognized as Australia’s #1 Authority on customer ROI in the retail industry and as a global expert on staff coaching, customer service, and selling skills.