The Lack of Innovation & Tech in Leadership is a Major Problem

The Lack of Innovation & Tech in Leadership is a Major Problem
by Milo Sindell & Thuy Sindell

Technology changes so rapidly that it’s a challenge to keep up. And not only our personal technology, but we see this in the workplace, too. Almost every aspect of business has been made better by advancements in technology -- except leadership training.

Leadership development is stuck in the past, and employers cling to training models that have been used for years. Why? Well the truth is, there aren’t many alternatives. Leadership training lacks innovation and integration with new technology.

Here are a few reasons why leadership coaching is lagging behind:

It’s expensive.

Leadership training and coaching is pricey. And because it’s expensive, it’s typically only reserved for executive leadership. If only a handful of employees are using executive coaching, company leaders aren’t demanding innovation -- there’s no push for it. They’re OK with using the same old model of training that has always been used, because it only affects a select few leaders.

But that’s where employers are mistaken -- leadership training impacts everyone within the company, and tech can make it accessible to more employees. As it is, Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Manager Report found that just 35 percent of managers are engaged at work, which has a huge impact on the rest of the workforce. The study found that employees who are supervised by highly engaged managers are 59 percent more likely to be engaged than those supervised by actively disengaged managers.

Leaders at every level need better training so they can effectively engage and motivate the employees they lead. Innovation in leadership training technology is the answer.

It can’t be measured.

Traditional leadership training not only is expensive, but also can’t be measured. So employers aren’t really sure if their coaching is effective. They know leadership development is needed, so they go along with what has always been done, because it’s easier than looking for a new, more effective solution.

But that’s crazy -- especially considering that technology in leadership coaching can make tracking metrics more feasible. While measuring results advances and becomes more and more accurate in every other facet of business, talent metrics lag behind. In fact, 58 percent of companies are still using spreadsheets as their primary way to track performance metrics a 2015 survey conducted by Workplace Trends found.

To get the most from leadership coaching and development, training needs to be measurable, and technology can make that possible.

Why it’s a problem

So why is the drought in leadership training innovation a problem? Because it’s allowed an outdated model to live on, without question from anyone. The same model of executive coaching has been around for decades, and now it only benefits a few senior executives, it’s expensive, and doesn’t take advantage of new technology.

Leadership training is ineffective, and companies are feeling the effects. After all, 39 percent of companies surveyed by Workplace Trends said they offer leadership development training, but just 15 percent of employees felt they were effective. What’s more, among employees surveyed, only 36 percent said leadership is a strength in their organization.

The only way leadership will improve is with better training. Development programs need to be brought into the 21st century, and technology is the key to innovative training that meets the needs of modern businesses.

So what will that new model of development look like? Here’s what leadership training could be with the help of technology:

Scaleable solutions for the masses

HR software allows employers to train and onboard large cohorts at the same time. The same concept needs to be used on leadership training. In the current leadership coaching model, companies can only train a handful of employees at one time. But if leadership training is to expand beyond the C-suite, it needs to be scalable.

Technology gives employers the ability to train hundreds of employees at once. Training platforms can give employees access to modules and other training tools. That way, each employees can log-on, and complete their training, making development faster, more effective, and more accessible to the entire organization.

Blended teaching model

The old model of leadership training is solely based on in-person coaching. A more effective, new model won’t abandon this method completely, but will mix personalized training and mentoring with technology-based solutions.

After, all, a report published by Accenture in April 2015 found that some Canadian companies are increasing their ROI of workplace training, by blending in-person and technology-based training.

In leadership development, employees can complete lessons independently while checking in with coaches to discuss their progress, get feedback, and stay on track.

Customized and individual

In the traditional form of leadership coaching, employers can’t be sure their company goals are met and that coaches are teaching philosophies and strategies that align with the company mission. There’s no consistency.

But with technology, employers can customize the skills the development program focuses on and connect lessons back to company goals. Now employees across the company get consistent company training.

But consistency doesn’t mean one-size-fits-all. Technology allows individuals to focus on their strengths and the competencies that make sense for them, within the framework of the organization’s mission and goals. Technology makes training customizable to fit the company and individualized to meet employee needs.

Overall, leadership training technology should be easy to use for employers and employees and easy to track and measure its effectiveness. It’s time to start questioning the old way of leadership training -- is it really the best? Are there better ways of doing things? It’s time to start demanding innovative leadership training that meets the needs of a modern workforce.