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Leadership Development Exigencies, Circa 2019

Written by

Memphis • 02/25/19 


Our work with leaders in the healthcare, hospitality, and financial services sectors often begins with some derivative of the statement, “I can’t get enough managers (all levels) hired, trained, and performing adequately. Can you help?” Though the perceived need often is for the delivery of more or better leadership development, the reality is that’s often a “right church, wrong pew” scenario, stemming from the fact that we’re asking too much of our leadership development resources. How so?


  1. Late to the game. Most of those being moved into 1st-time leadership roles are transitioning without the benefit of ANY leader preparation. That’s akin to giving a person a scalpel, scrubs, and a license to practice medicine prior to any med school. The results are entirely predictable.
  2. Square peg, round hole. Too often, those promoted into management lack vital but untrainable attributes like courage, character and humility. Odds are, they can’t learn it, and you can’t teach it.
  3. Bad examples. In too many cases, the example that’s being set for our newfound leaders to follow and emulate is, in a word, awful.

To summarize, we’re failing to screen for vital, ‘factory installed’ leadership attributes, putting outsized burdens on precious learning & development resources by injecting their talents too late to be effective, and in general not putting enough attention into the example and reinforcement of good leadership habits. So, with apologies for the cowboy logic, our advice to clients and others is that they:


  1. Stop throwing new leaders into the deep end of the pool absent adequate core skills preparation (managing time and priorities, coaching skills, how to recruit and select, the essence of leadership, and organization-specific need to knows.)
  2. Stop trying to build the leadership bench with people who lack leadership pre-requisites. 
  3. Let’s be a lot more mindful of the example we’re setting for the newer leaders in our trail.


Given proper focus on these items, our newer leaders will be a lot better off at year end than they are now, and so will we.



Bill Catlette

Bill Catlette, @ContentedCows is an executive coach and business author who helps clients build lasting competitive edge by eliminating blind-spots and improving leadership habits. Read more about Bill's coaching services, or contact us to discuss how we can help you or your organization. | This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.