Reasons New Leaders Fail Even After Leadership Training | #LeadershipSkills

Would you like to know the reasons new leaders fail even after they have taken a top-notch leadership training program? I remember once such incident at one of my clients. The new leader in question had finished one of the best leadership training programs yet was exhibiting the worst leadership behaviors.

I spoke to the director to whom the new leader reported. The director was shocked that the new leader was doing so poorly. She even said, “but we sent Murphy to the best leadership training program in the country!” I understood this director’s frustration. So let’s assess the reasons new leaders fail even after leadership training.

Reasons New Leaders Fail: Image is sign saying Caution, Slippery Slope.

Reasons New Leaders Fail Even After Leadership Training. Image by HelenK via Flickr Attribution License.

Image by Helen K via Flickr Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License.

Reasons New Leaders Fail Even After Leadership Training

  1. Leadership training program didn’t match your culture and employees. There are different definitions and approaches to leadership. Find out if the leadership training program you are considering for your new leaders matches your company culture and goals.

  2. No initial assessment. If you send employees off to leadership training without first assessing their leadership potential, they may fail when they try to lead. Before you send them off to training, assess their extreme behaviors that may help or hinder their ability to lead. Assess their strengths and weaknesses. Discuss it with them to give them some special individual focus for the training.

  3. No short and long-term follow-up. When the new leaders return from training, ask them to write-up the key lessons learned. Ask them which of their behaviors they will change as a result of the training? If they don’t mention any of the behaviors you highlighted prior to them taking the training, discuss those behaviors with them. Set a date for the next follow-up discussion in the next six weeks. This helps the new leaders implement what they learned and review along the way.

  4. Struggle with being a former peer. If the new leaders are former peers of those they now lead, coach them on the special skills needed for this change.

  5. And quite possibly …

  6. Realize they do not like leading. Some of the new leaders may realize they don’t like leading. They may be hesitant to tell you for fear you will see them as unambitious. Talk to them. Find out what surprises they’ve had about leading. What did they not expect? You can help them figure out what are the best next steps to take.


Too often organizations send potential or new leaders to top-notch leadership training programs without doing the preparation outlined above. The new leaders go to training with very little awareness of their strengths, weaknesses, extremes, and hidden obstacles. So it is no surprise that they don’t show great progress upon their return. In the case of the new leader I mentioned in the opening story, the director found out that the new leader had obsessive compulsive disorder. Had they discussed it prior to the leadership training, the new leader could have considered that issue throughout the training.

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

©2024 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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One Response to “Reasons New Leaders Fail Even After Leadership Training | #LeadershipSkills”

  1. Randy Clark says:

    As always an excellent post. I’ve also seen leadership training fail when upper management isn’t involved or doesn’t follow the training.

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