Cutting Back On Leadership Development Is A Major Risk During Crisis

The pandemic has spurred an ongoing discussion on the subject of non-essentials. Essentials seem straightforward with healthcare and food services but the term starts to turn grey when considering other aspects of a business – such as leadership development. 

Additionally, this raises the dilemma of long-term vs short-term implications. While food delivery, medical services, and digital security are perennial essentials – all organisations should review the key forces behind their business continuity plan.

Instead of cutting back on leadership development, leadership development should be placed at the forefront of these considerations. Capabilities-building should not be paused due to the recent series of setbacks – in fact, the momentum should never be lost. Some companies have considered scaling down on training budgets (deeming them nonessential)- but this could prove detrimental in the long run. 

The economic landscape is shifting, standards are changing – and all at a rapid pace. Leaders must adapt to the dynamics now or they will risk falling behind more astute competitors. 

Weakens Leadership Resilience

Successful post-COVID leaders are resilient go-getters who practice empathetic management policies. Continuous leadership development will help these leaders stay informed on the latest industry changes, to equip their workers with the most relevant skills, and knowledge in response to crisis woes. 

Additionally, leaders should empower secondary leaders in times of increased workload. This will help alleviate decision fatigue to avoid burnout while operations continue to be run smoothly in safe hands. 

Unwavering leaders who continue to learn and develop themselves despite extraneous problems are likely to inspire employees. This brings hope to the workforce that provides a morale boost leading to greater productivity.

Increases Training Cost

Leadership development is inevitable as the market and economy always evolve. The choice lies between leveraging the training with experienced leaders or starting from scratch by developing future hires.  

The latter will require more effort and higher costs with less promising results. Additionally, the longer it takes for an organisation to arrive at a decision, the steeper the learning curve. 

Damages Positive Work Culture

Words travel fast among the modern digital workforce. Through Glassdoor reviews and other employee feedback platforms, your organization risks being blacklisted as a dead-end that severely lacks development opportunities.  

Gallup studies show that millennials want jobs to be development opportunities. As such, a lack of leadership development could be a prevalent issue as more millennials assume leadership roles. This will make it a challenge for organisations to find motivated and driven leaders who are willing to take their company to the next level. 

 Miss Out on New Opportunities

Consistent leadership development keeps decision-makers functioning at their best. As such, a lack of training and development programs might compromise a leader’s ability to identify and capitalise on the investment opportunities from post-pandemic economies and industry trends. 

According to a report by the Center for Creative Leadership,  “Leaders must understand the depth of disruption, length of disruption, and anticipate what recovery may look like. While this exercise may not help solve the current challenge, it is a good point to start aligning resources with action plans.”

Organisations should exercise caution with learning and development budgets during uncertain times. However, cutting back on leadership development should be seriously reconsidered. Leadership development is integral in workplace engagement and a full-blown global crisis is an ideal impetus for investing in it. 


StrengthsAsia has helped many individual and corporate clients all throughout the region in identifying and maximizing their talents, in driving engagement and increasing motivation in their work and life. Sign up for our upcoming workshops to enjoy a world-class facilitated experience to learn how you can optimise performance with our proprietary engagement strategies.

A devotee at the altar of language and a celebrant of expression. Laurenzo has written for various SMEs, MNCs, startups and international brands over the last three years. He specializes in topics of psychology, lifestyle, employee management, and digital trends.

Aly is StrengthsAsia’s marketing and communications guru and lead editor. She's over the top inquisitive and everyone in the company knows her as “The Googler” as she practically googles everything. Honestly, we all worry for her… She is also the Principal Trainer for our one of a kind ice cream team building workshops in Asia.

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