Skillsoft Blog

What Does Successful Leadership Development Mean?

A recent Gartner global survey of over 800 HR leaders found that 47% of all respondents struggle to develop effective leaders in their organizations.  This problem – ineffective development of leaders – ranked higher than any other problem associated with current and future leadership bench strength. It also speaks to the tremendous need for better leadership development solutions and democratisation of leadership development to increase bench strength. The same study also shows that most organisations expect more than 40% of leadership roles to be significantly different within five years.  This change speaks to the tremendous need for technology-enabled continuous learning solutions for leadership development.

In the UK, leadership and management development is ranked as the number one training priority for organisations. This result is hardly surprising given that four in ten employees are currently unhappy with their leaders. We all know that organisations invest heavily in leadership development, so why is all that investment not paying off in the form of improved leader performance?

I’ve spoken and written frequently about the seismic shifts in the practice of leadership in the context of today’s digital economy. In a recent blog post, The 6 Truths of Modern Leadership Development, I examined the fundamental changes and rationale behind them. Much, if not all, of this transformation is a direct consequence of the opportunities and challenges leaders face in light of rapid technological change, and the new processes, methodologies and structures organisations have put in place to increase their competitiveness.  Leaders today need new leadership competencies to propel their organisations into the future.

In another blog post, Why Learning Technologies are Key to Successful Leadership Development, I discussed the findings from Driving Leadership Capability, a new Towards Maturity and Skillsoft report that reveals why some leadership development programmes achieve the desired outcomes while others do not. The research highlights the essential role that learning technologies can play in continued leadership development. It also demonstrates that when used as part of overall leadership development efforts, learning technologies improve access, flexibility and continuous support so that leaders have greater control over their learning.

What successful leadership development means for an organisation

L&D professionals who use technology when developing their leaders are more likely to achieve better results with respect to their key performance indicators (KPIs).



In other words, companies with technology-enabled leadership development programs enjoy:

  • Increased organisational productivity
  • Reduced staff turnover
  • Increased improvement in time to leadership competency

In addition, organisations which leverage technology-enabled leadership development solutions facilitated a broader, more inclusive approach, allowing individuals at all levels across the organisation to have the opportunity to develop their leadership capabilities.

Understanding the vital role successful leadership development plays is crucial if organisations are to equip employees with the necessary skills and capabilities required to lead. Research can offer L&D and HR professionals the tools and knowledge to accomplish this, and I encourage readers to look at the Towards Maturity and Skillsoft Driving Leadership Capability reportIt both provides further evidence of the role of learning technologies in leadership training and explores:

  • How leadership development is evolving with the changes in the world of work
  • The key barriers organisations are facing with leadership development
  • How organisations are measuring the success of their leadership development programmes

To explore successful leadership development in more detail, access your copy today.


Heide Abelli is the SVP of Content Product Management at Skillsoft.


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