Leadership is a high priority within organizations, according to 80 percent of the professionals who participated in Deloitte’s most recent global human capital survey.

marek-levak-eHL0KfDgQRs-unsplash-1Only 41 percent of respondents, however, feel their company is either ready or very ready to meet its leadership needs.

Leadership development programs that provide training and guidance can help; to be truly effective, though, the efforts have to be implemented thoughtfully.

Recent research — including the following findings — can provide some insight into why an organization might succeed or fail at leadership development:

Programs may fall short due to structure

Developing next gen leaders was one of the top five concerns more than half of respondents said they were facing in a 2018 survey conducted by Development Dimensions International, The Conference Board and EY involving thousands of leaders and HR professionals from 54 countries. Yet only 41 percent believed their leadership development program was a high or very high quality offering. One potential explanation: 31 percent of HR professionals said there was a weak or nonexistent relationship between the company’s annual strategic plans and plans to grow leadership talent.

Businesses may not be offering enough development opportunities

Forty-seven percent of talent development professionals expect their organization will experience a leadership or executive-level skills gap in the future, according to leadership development statistics from the Association for Talent Development. Businesses aren’t necessarily investing in leadership development instruction or other types of education to prevent the issue, though. The survey found the percentage of companies offering internal training to help close their skills gap had decreased since 2015; and the percentage of companies offering off-site, vendor-provided training has also declined.

Leadership Development Statistics That May Surprise You - Talent Intelligence Leadership development may need to center on specific skills

In today’s rapidly evolving digital work environment, leaders have to possess different capabilities than they may have needed a decade ago. HR, IT and other professionals ranked the ability to lead through more complexity and ambiguity as the top requirement for 21st Century leaders, according to Deloitte — followed by being able to lead through influence; the ability to manage on a remote basis; and the ability to manage a workforce comprised of both humans and machines.

While leadership development can be an additional expense, it’s a worthwhile investment

Zenger Folkman research involving a large mortgage company found leaders who managers, direct reports and peers rated as the most effective produced twice as much net revenue as managers who were considered to be less effective.

For more info about leadership development and additional insight on general employee training practices, view posts on how employee assessment tests can help with succession planning, 3 signs someone is right for a leadership role, different types of employee training programs, using open-source software in training — and skills training companies can afford on any budget.