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Last updated: 13.03.17

Why we should focus on leadership development?

Why we should focus on leadership development?

Are leadership programmes effective or should businesses be focusing more on other development training?

Those who are positioned as a leaders within a business or organisation have a very important role to play. Staff look highly upon these professionals and often place a lot of trust in their actions and judgement. However, in certain occasions this position of power can be abused, which then impacts negatively on both the business and those around them.

This, perhaps, is one of the more obvious reasons why money should be invested in leadership development. However, e-learning guru Nigel Paine, believes that we should look at things from an alternative angle - forgetting about developing leaders and instead focus on developing leadership.

While developing a leader focuses on an individual specifically, developing leadership instead looks at a number of individuals at the top level of a business. It looks at frameworks and behaviours and provides a philosophy and approach that involves everyone.

Here we take a look in more detail at why we should be focusing more on leadership development.


To avoid poor leadership, companies should apply a consistent framework across the whole organisation that provides no exceptions based on hierarchy. All well-led businesses have staff at every level working hard, not just a few members pulling the weight of others. Behaviour within any office or company impacts on those around them, which means there should be no exceptions to this rule and if there is, there must be sanctions, argues Mr Paine.

Those in leadership positions must have a long-term commitment to their employer, which means having to deal with tough decisions. With a hard-working approach, businesses will also see hyperactivity, a better engaged workforce, more innovation and more commitment.

In addition to this, good leadership emerges from a culture of trust - which is hard to build and easy to destroy. Employees do not want to work for a person they do not trust. Mr Paine wrote: “It is only by constantly keeping leadership under review that consistent leadership survives. This includes not just sanctions for poor leadership but rewards for good leadership.

“In other words, there have to be significant incentives to encourage people to put a lot of effort and hard work into leading well, paying attention to others, and helping the organisation become more effective.”


All businesses should take time to reflect on activities, and this is core to developing leadership. Senior members of staff should encourage debate about what works and what doesn’t work as it creates conscious leaders and demands core behaviours that may come easily to some people and be a struggle for others.

Things to consider should include reflection on their own leadership, consulting others on how well they do, creating weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly goals. The best leaders see their positions as a collective responsibility that requires discussion and sharing of issues. This way, high standards are agreed and acted upon.

Leadership must be taken seriously and it must be a company-wide effort that is implemented consistently. Mr Paine believes that leadership is something that we need to talk about more and we should engage more in the issues and consequences of poor leadership, which often come in the form of incompetent and ego-driven leaders.

Virtual College offers “The People Manager’s Toolkit” to cover all management training needs. This a simple and cost-effective way to ensure members of staff are able to meet their full potential.