20 Reasons Why You Must Develop Leaders, Not Just Train Them


Hello leaders!

As many organizations begin to take on the New Year in full force, it’s important that organizations don’t fall into the same development traps they did over the previous year. What I mean is that organizations often become complacent and implement the same training initiatives they did in the last year but maybe slightly different.

This is an issue because organizations are wasting time, money, and effort on turning their leaders into complacent beings. So much so that according to the American Society of Training and Development, U.S. businesses spend roughly more than $170 billion dollars on “leadership-training.” Why I say leadership training in quotations is because realistically not all of that money is spent solely on training and we don’t just want to train leaders, we want to develop them.

Training and development have become so closely tied to each other because of their similarities, but they’re still different. Training often entails systems, processes, and techniques rather than focusing on the areas that individuals want to develop by way of experience and dialogue. Training also often utilizes outdated information and is one-dimensional. In many cases it can be considered as a way of saying monologue, lecture, or presentation. What differentiates training the most from development though is that training is driven by past experience not future needs. To put it simply, training focuses on best practices whereas development focuses on next practices.

Now that’s not to say all training is bad and that it should be totally abolished. Rather than strictly training leaders, it’s important to also coach, discipline, and mentor leaders. Leaders don’t want to train. They feel above the term so they often dread participating. Leadership development on the other hand is collaborative, contextual, challenging, and actionable. Leadership development invites participants to be curious and excited while exploring new opportunities to enhance themselves.

To further prove the point, here are 20 differences between training and development:

1. Training adheres to the norm, the usual, or “what’s been done” – Development invites you to do “what’s never been done”
2. Training focuses on content and technique – Development focuses on people and experience
3. Training tests the patience of participants – Development tests the courage of participants
4. Training focuses on today – Development focuses on tomorrow
5. Training follows a specific set of rules and procedures – Development focuses on breaking the rules to maximize potential
6. Training is a transaction – Development is a transformation
7. Training is the maintenance of behaviours – Development is the growth of skills and behaviours
8. Training focuses on the position – Development focuses on the person
9. Training instructs – Development educates
10. Training maintains status quo – Development sparks innovation and inspiration
11. Training kills culture – Development drives culture
12. Training encourages compliance – Development encourages performance
13. Training focuses on efficiency and speed – Development focuses on effectiveness and quality
14. Training is in reference to a problem – Development is in reference to opportunity and solutions
15. Training focuses on structure and reporting – Development focuses on being influential and challenging the norm
16. Training places restrictions around individuals – Development provides freedom
17. Training is mechanical – Development is intellectual
18. Training focuses on what’s known – Development explores the unknown
19. Training allows for comfort and complacency – Development encourages exploration outside of your comfort zone
20. Training has an end – Development is endless

If you want your leaders to stay complacent then don’t consider the points above, but if you want your leaders to inspire, transform, and engage then you must do the same for them. You can grow as much as possible and maintain a high level of success but every peak has its plateau and without leadership development programs, organizations cannot evolve if leaders are not.



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