Leading companies place a high value on leadership development. Even though less than half of Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends study respondents believe they have what it takes to achieve their employers’ leadership needs, 80% of respondents evaluated leadership as a top priority for their organizations. In a separate McKinsey survey, the same situation is revealed: nine out of ten CEOs think that leadership development is the most crucial issue in the human capital area of their company.
The necessity for leadership development is pressing and obvious. Teams in a developing business require essential leaders to guide them. Groups and individuals, though, come and go. Companies need a pipeline of qualified personnel who can take over when departing current leaders, new teams are formed, or new problems occur. Leadership development ensures a business maintains a dynamic pool of internal people with the skillset needed to gain a competitive edge and provide the desired business outcomes.
One expert who has significantly impacted the development of leaders in this arena is Michael Ventura. He is an author, entrepreneur, and advisor committed to helping teams develop along with their business goals. Ventura has been a massive supporter of empathic leadership in the business world and his book Applied Empathy is a valuable resource for entrepreneurs and executives seeking to build and accelerate their businesses. The book highlights the importance of empathy in leadership and provides practical guidance on how to cultivate this skill.
Ventura has consulted numerous public and commercial firms while also teaching at Princeton University, The University of Pennsylvania, The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, and the United States Military Academy at West Point. He has been featured in numerous media sites, including Business Insider, Fast Company, Forbes, PBS News Hour, and countless others, which highlights the impact he has had on the business world.
Through his work, Ventura shares that organizations need to develop steady leadership development programs as they unlock multiple benefits, including:
Profitability: Professionals with the proper training guide their teams to higher levels of effectiveness and productivity. These, in turn, result in more sales and better profit margins. In fact, according to studies, investing in leadership development boosts an organization’s financial performance, and firms that make excellent investments in their human resources have returns that are five times higher than those that place less emphasis on this resource.
Increased Morale: Employee engagement increases significantly when they have a clear career path and a strong understanding of their roles. Comparing a cohesive team to a dispersed and aimless workforce, a high-morale squad has a much better chance of reaching high performance. Programs for leadership and talent development also aid in establishing a culture of accountability and ownership. When people “own” their roles, they gain meaning, boost morale, and work more effectively. Ventura emphasizes that empathy in leadership is crucial for creating a positive work environment and fostering a sense of belonging among team members.
A Competitive Advantage: If done correctly, leadership development helps your business create and maintain a competitive advantage. Influential leaders motivate their followers to perform at a high level. With the appropriate instruction, these experts also have the propensity to develop and carry out successful business strategies. Applied Empathy provides insights into how to build strong relationships with customers and colleagues, which is a key aspect of gaining a competitive edge in the business world.
Corporate Culture: A culture of engaged excellence develops when leaders set a good example for their team members and when everyday employees handle their duties like business owners. Quality leadership development programs give the organization a purpose, boost morale, and unite everyone. Skills development, behavioral change, responsibility, creativity, business continuity, and teamwork are among the human-side components of these initiatives that are essential to organizational success. Applied Empathy stresses the importance of empathy in creating a positive corporate culture and building.
In conclusion, the benefits of leadership development in the business world are numerous and significant. Investing in leadership development can lead to increased profitability, higher employee morale, a competitive advantage, and a strong corporate culture. Working with thought leaders like Ventura and others has proven to help organizations consistently gain outside perspective on the ways to prioritize personal development and incorporate empathy into leadership practices. Through this work, businesses can cultivate a strong and effective pipeline of talent, leading to long-term success and growth.
Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends study: Deloitte. (2021). Global Human Capital Trends 2021. https://www2.deloitte.com/global/en/pages/human-capital/articles/human-capital-trends.html
McKinsey survey: Barton, D., Grant, A., & Horn, M. (2012). The hidden value of organizational health–and how to capture it. McKinsey Quarterly, 4, 40-51. https://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/organization/our-insights/the-hidden-value-of-organizational-health-and-how-to-capture-it
Study on leadership development and financial performance: Chiu, W., & Sun, J. (2019). Does leadership development pay off? Financial performance implications of leadership development programs. Journal of Business Research, 104, 243-255. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2019.06.013
Michael Ventura’s book “Applied Empathy”: Ventura, M. (2018). Applied empathy: The new language of leadership. Simon & Schuster.