10 Signs Your Company's Leadership Training is Failing

Jacob Lund / Adobe Stock

meeting at work

Jacob Lund / Adobe Stock

Holly Caplan
Holly Caplan10
Have you ever been confused by the direction of your company or questioned how the leaders handle certain situations like coaching or business development? Well, it's probably because the leadership training is failing, and it is affecting you and other people. Although companies believe they are improving their team’s skills through effective leadership, it is obvious when the quality of training is poor. Everyone in the organization feels it, though sometimes, leadership and management may be unable to recognize when their initiatives aren't working.
So, how do you know when the leadership training program at your company is failing? Here are 10 signs that you need to reassess leadership development at your company.

Ten signs leadership development isn't working

1. Inconsistent messaging

When messaging from the leadership team is all over the place, there is clearly a problem. This means that there is no clear direction coming from the top. It may seem like everyone is making his or her own rules and paths. This can be confusing for employees, especially when they compare notes, and no one seems to be on the same page.

2. No direction

If you notice knee jerk-reactions, directional changes every few months, and indecisiveness, it is clear that leadership and management aren't finding a cohesive balance. Think of a scene from the Three Stooges, in which the title characters bumble around not knowing which way is up. If the leaders at your company are behaving the same way with their work and direction, the training program—or lackthereof—may be failing.

3. Lack of leadership

You may ask your manager for advice or input on what to do on a project but have a hard time getting an answer, receive a vague response, or get no response at all. This means she is not being guided on how to manage, and she may feel lost herself. This can have an impact on an employee regarding growth and ultimately causes a loss of respect for the leader and management as a whole.

4. No progression of succession

If you see a lack of succession planning, it isn’t a good sign. This means that the management team isn’t planning on bringing others into their fold, nor are they vetting anyone to further their success. This could be an indicator that your career could be stalled, since there may be no movement or consideration of your skills and ability to move into leadership roles.

5. Going old school

Your company uses an old leadership training program, perhaps something from the late 80s, and won’t deviate from it. This shows an inability to be flexible and move with the changing tide. When this occurs, it is typically because the leaders are not adding fresh talent to the team, which stalls the company's progress and ability to adapt.

6. No management training at all

Believe it or not, some companies have no management training at all. This can be destructive to a team and company, because the people who advance into leadership positions aren’t being taught how to manage and coach their employees. Employees will feel the brunt of this, because their bosses often lack leadership skills necessary to aid the development of their workers.

7. High turnover

When there is a higher rate of management turnover, it means that managers aren't getting what they need from higher ups. If managers leave, it is typically an indicator of being unsettled and frustrated, while means that the entire team or company may lack sufficient coaching and support for employees.

8. No filter

Most good managers can keep their cool and remain professional throughout the toughest of times. But, when their filter comes off, and they share every negative thought about the company with you, this means they no longer feel responsible to the powers that be, nor do they feel the need to protect their team.
Even the best of managers can fall into the “no filter zone” if they are not being guided.

9. Emergency meetings

How many times has your manager had an emergency leadership meeting? He will change around his entire week and schedule to accommodate whatever is coming down the company pipeline. When you see this happen, it usually means the leaders don’t have everyone in sync and are rushing to fit a square peg into a round hole. If a company has it together, there will be far less scrambling.

10. Panic mode

You may notice that instead of functioning proactively, the management team is functioning reactively. It may seem like every step of communication is a knee-jerk reaction to something they can’t handle, which results in a lot of blaming of others. Welcome to panic mode. This has a negative effect on leadership and spreads peripherally to other employees.

The bottom line

Lack of leadership training is unfortunate, since it affects more than just the leadership team. It affects everyone. Just be aware when it is happening, so that you, as an employee or manager yourself, can make your own judgment call...and perhaps manage yourself into a different situation.
Holly Caplan is an award-winning manager and author of Surviving the Dick Clique: A Girl’s Guide to Surviving the Male Dominated Corporate World. For more information, please visit, www.hollycaplan.com.