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Leadership Development

5 Top Reasons You Need Leadership Development


It Often Comes Down to a Few Key Drivers

When talking to clients, we'll often ask: “Why do you feel your leaders need leadership development?” Sometimes, clients know their leaders need training but have a difficult time articulating that need.

Often, after a bit of discussion, it likely comes down to a few key drivers. Let's take a look at a few key leadership needs, and how a research-based, proven model can provide bottom-line results.

The Leadership Challenge® is the original, research-based leadership development program. It’s based on 30 years of ongoing research from researchers and authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner, who identified specific practices and behaviors people look for in leaders they would willingly want to follow (“willingly,” obviously, being a key distinction).

Kouzes and Posner found five behaviors people look for in leaders that are consistent across gender, ethnicity, generations, and industry:  The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership®.

  1. Model the Way: This practice speaks to a leader’s ability to “walk the talk,” lead by example, and do what they say they will do. It has to do with the congruence between a leader’s stated values and their exemplified behavior.
  2. Inspire a Shared Vision: This practice has to do with a leader’s ability to articulate a compelling vision and to create buy-in to that vision on the part of their team members.
  3. Challenge the Process: This practice exhibits the degree to which a leader’s behaviors creates the environment within which innovation can take place.
  4. Enable Others to Act: This practice demonstrates the degree to which a leader fosters collaboration, builds trust, and, through doing that, develops new leaders within the organization (i.e., strengthens and lengthens succession pipelines).
  5. Encourage the Heart: Finally, this practice is exemplified by a leader who provides morale-building recognition and motivation on a consistent and relevant basis.
So, back to those five most common drivers that people feel their organization’s leaders need, and how a proven, research-based, leadership development solution can help.


One of the most important reasons employees indicate they leave an organization is that they feel the organization is neither concerned about, nor providing them with, developmental opportunities.

As reported in Inc.com, sixty-three percent of Millennials believe their leadership skills are not being fully developed, and a driver for Millennials when evaluating job opportunities is the ability to progress and take on leadership roles. 

Research has long indicated that most managers do not receive that leadership development until age 42, yet, most of those same managers started leading people at age 31 or 32. So, any way you view it, most leadership development is 10 to 20 years behind the curve.

The Leadership Challenge® addresses these issues, providing the kind of development organizations need, and that most employees, especially Millennials, crave: a proven path to leadership development.


Innovation, and the collaboration that leads to innovation, is based on trust. Leaders who understand the behaviors that can build trust and collaboration can create innovative environments. The Leadership Challenge® behaviors demonstrating the practices “Challenge the Process” and “Enable Others to Act” provide leaders with the habits and actions to foster collaboration and trust—and through that, innovation.


Many organizations today are witnessing massive change initiatives. Whether it is emerging from the pandemic, a merger, an acquisition, or some sort of re-organization, organizations need leaders who can lead their constituents through times of change. To be an effective leader during massive change, a leader needs to be both credible and inspiring. Credibility encourages others to trust their word and their ability to inspire and articulate a vision allows others to rally toward a new direction.

The practices of “Model the Way” and “Inspire a Shared Vision” help leaders build that credibility and articulate the shared vision that leaders, leading through change, must exemplify.


One of the most likely reasons organizations seek leadership development is to address engagement issues. Whether a recent engagement survey has provided feedback that was less than expected, or there is simply anecdotal evidence that engagement is low, organizations realize this needs to be addressed. Low engagement leads to shortfalls in performance, loss of clients, and turnover of an organization’s most highly valued performers. It is devastating to the life of an organization.

Research consistently shows that not only are The Five Practices® a primary driver of employee engagement, but the degree to which they drive employee engagement is significant: leaders who strongly and consistently apply The Five Practices® have team members who are 30%-40% more engaged


One of the most common reasons clients reach out for The Leadership Challenge® training is to imbue leaders within their organizations with the practices and behaviors that enable them to develop their people.

Even as the "Great Resignation" continues, the aging of the existing workforce is also accelerating. It’s necessary for existing leaders and organizations to contribute to the development of the emerging leaders—whether they be Gen Z, Millennials, or even Gen X—and equip them to step into leadership roles that others are stepping out of.

The Leadership Challenge® training contributes to this development with the behaviors in "Enable Others to Act" by encouraging leaders who listen to their people, support direct report’s decisions and give them more choices in how they execute their work, and ensure that their people grow in their jobs.

Do any of these drivers resonate with you regarding developmental needs of the leaders in your organization? 

If so, find out more about addressing these issues by registering yourself, or your team, to experience The Leadership Challenge® Workshop.

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Lauren Parkhill

Lauren Parkhill leads the marketing team in creating creative content that helps organizations develop their leaders and teams.