5 Common Problems with Online Leadership Training — and Their Solutions

5 common problems with online leadership training and their solutions from a better leader

Businesses of all sizes spend an enormous amount of money on employee and leadership training — but unfortunately, many are not receiving the best return on their investment.

We’re passionate about the impact that online leadership training can have on the growth and success of any business. But the reality is that online leadership training has its problems as well. In working with hundreds of clients on developing leaders in their business, we’ve been able to identify 5 common problems. It’s as important to us to help you understand the problems that exist as the benefits that come with a solution like A Better Leader.

Our goal in writing this article is to be transparent about the 5 most common problems with leadership training that you need to be aware of. We’re also going to discuss the solutions so that if you’re experiencing any of these problems you know how to fix them.

Be Aware of These 5 Problems to Optimize Your Leadership Training Program

“Leadership is not a position or a title — it is action and example.” — Cory Booker

Understanding the challenges and problems associated with leadership training is the first step towards greater success. The good news is, the following common issues can be addressed — here’s how.

Problem #1: When training programs are “one-size-fits-all” they can’t benefit every workplace

Leadership training is often one-directional and outdated, relying more on common “best practices” than specific strategies. The issue here is, effective training cannot be successful when there is a lack of insight. If you don’t understand what’s wrong and what needs to be improved upon, a generic leadership training program will likely be a waste of time and money.

Solution: Take the time to understand the specific needs of your team and company. What is your team struggling with? What would you like to see implemented? Only when you hone in on the specific challenges your team is facing, will you be able to develop a program that drives actionable training. For example, if your workplace needs a strategy to retain employees, you need a leadership training that would focus heavily on not only attracting top talent, but keeping them engaged, and developing them into leaders on every level.

If you are aware of the biggest struggles your team has, you are able to develop the right program to address those issues. Often times, companies will simply choose a trending or popular leadership training topic, and it doesn’t benefit them or their team. Rather than potentially wasting money chasing those trends, a program must be developed that will provide a solution to your unique problems. 

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Problem #2: Training without further development

A leadership training program isn’t meant to be a one-day course. To build and encourage true leaders, you must invest in training, coaching, and development. While training highlights the importance of content and techniques, real development focuses on the leaders themselves. Without continued development of your leaders, you run the risk of them losing the knowledge and insight they gained with your investment in them in the first place. Not only that, you lose the implementation of any of the skills they picked up during their development as well. Essentially, your leadership training will not give you an effective return on your investment unless you ensure your team is continually applying the strategies they obtained along the way, and practicing them daily for the rest of the workplace to see as well.

Solution: Implement a training strategy that teaches practical skills and knowledge in the present, while encouraging future growth and development. Understand that leadership training is an ongoing process — one that is transformational. And it doesn’t just come down to training your leaders. A good way to ensure you are consistently developing leaders it to offer training to everyone – not just the ones you already consider leaders. One of the problems with leadership training is that it can make your employees feel that you aren’t concerned about their long-term success and development, and simply want to focus on senior leadership. Face this head-on by offering leadership training to everyone.

Problem #3: A lack of feedback creates problems with leadership training

Communication is everything — and without it, leadership training can quickly become fairly ineffective. It is critical that business owners and human resource managers understand where each individual is in regards to their training and who may need extra assistance.

Solution: Implement a system that provides real-time feedback — that way, you can give specific individuals the nudge or support they require in order to thrive. If your employees do not feel that they are obtaining the training and development that they need, or are missing out on advancement opportunities elsewhere, they will likely look elsewhere. The best way to determine whether or not they feel this way is to ask for their feedback. There are many ways you can collect feedback from your employees, whether that be surveys, a platform for them to answer questions about their engagement, or polls within the workplace. This will close the gap between what your team needs, and what you are providing them.

Problem #4: A lack of variety

You know what they say, variety is the spice of life, and when it comes to learning, everyone has a different style. There are four learning styles according to the VARK model. Each of these preferred learning styles impacts the way that your leaders best take in and retain training information. While most leadership training programs rely on one method or delivery system, it is important that you implement a training program that addresses a range of learning styles. By failing to have a training program catered to multiple learning styles, you 

Solution: Focus on training programs that offer a range of delivery methods within each lesson. For example, a combination of videos, quizzes, and worksheets.

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Problem #5: Too much focus on irrelevant leadership topics

Your company is unique — and so are your leaders. As your goals and overall vision change, so should your leadership training tactics. If you are focusing on topics that do not apply to your leaders, your training program will be counterproductive.

Solution: Ensure that you’re able to hand-pick lessons based on topics that are current and relevant to your leaders and organization. Many companies understand that their employees learn in a multitude of ways, especially with the changes in today’s technology. What works for some people, won’t work for everyone. It’s a modern take on learning called multimodal learning, and can offer unlimited learning at a reasonable cost. With a diverse work environment, and employees that learn at different paces, this can help solve some of the problems of leadership training.

If you’re wondering whether or not your training program is actually working — or are looking to optimize your approach, A Better Leader can assist you. Learn more about this “done-for-you-training” resource.

Jennifer Orechwa

In over 25 years of helping companies connect with their employees, Jennifer has gained a unique perspective on what it takes to build a culture of continuous improvement. By blending a deep understanding of labor and employee relations with powerful digital marketing knowledge, Jennifer has helped thousands of companies achieve behavioral change at a cultural level.