Why Leadership Training Fails

With so many great people, programs, and knowledge in the world about leadership training, why do so many initiatives fail to move the needle at all?

Well, it’s not as simple as one universal reason, but it does begin with redefining what we even mean by “training.” The old leadership training model in so many places is outdated, dull, and lacking creativity. It’s classroom style rooms, long days, and lots of talk “at you” about leadership.

boring training

So, here are 3 Reasons Why Typical Leadership Training Programs Fail:

  • Drinking From A Firehose —too many of the programs are 8 hour days that are more about shooting you in the face with information about leadership theory than about true transformation of a human being.
  • Death By Power Point — part of the drinking from a firehose approach is that trainers think that the more power point slides they have, the better the presentation. Or, better yet, the more information they can cram into a slide and read, the better. Remember, boring sucks. If leadership training is boring, it fails.
  • Drive-Thru Experience — some organizations adopt the philosophy that as long as they send their people to a once a year seminar, their people will get all the leadership training they need in this drive-thru fast food approach. Leadership development is not a one-time thing, but is about a commitment to an ongoing process of development, discovery, and practice.

The most successful and compelling teams and organizational cultures on the planet are the ones who realize leadership training is about transformation of human beings, is about experiencing the attributes of leadership, and have a commitment to practice the attributes in tangible ways along their journey. It’s just a part of what they do. They rinse, repeat, and rediscover what influential and effective leadership looks like for them.

At Step Back Leadership Consulting, we believe that every presentation, workshop, or experience should “engage the minds and hearts of people.” We’re lucky to partner with great leaders, teams, and organizations who want to tap into the hearts, minds, and gifts of their people.

Next time your company rolls out its next leadership training program, make sure it’s not being held at a drive-thru window and the “trainer” doesn’t have a firehose in one hand and an arsenal of 347 slides in the other. Trust me — you’ll thank me later.

Travel Gracefully,


Jason Barger is a globally celebrated author, keynote speaker, and leadership consultant. More importantly, he’s striving to be an above average father, husband, and friend.

Follow on Twitter @JasonVBarger and learn more at JasonVBarger.com