Leadership Training Vs. Leadership Development: What’s The Difference?

training and development

Leadership Training Vs. Leadership Development: What’s The Difference?

The line that divides leadership training and leadership development is often blurry. Many firms, top executives, and talent management professionals are unaware of the distinction. This erroneous perception has wasted valuable resources on leadership programmes.

It’s true that great leaders, without a doubt, can influence others in various ways. They are a source of motivation and inspire others, as well as being a driving force behind culture change and team progress.

However, the question is whether or not people can learn to lead. Is there a need for continuous training for the current leaders? Certainly, there is no dearth of corporate management courses that focus on developing new-age leaders.

Even organisations rely on corporate leadership training to groom future leaders who can shoulder responsibility and are adequately mentored and coached from the start.

Leadership training and development programmes help identify high-potential individuals who are likely to become leaders one day. Such programmes also help harness the talent and knowledge of those already holding leadership positions.

What is Leadership Training?

Today, the business environment is extremely challenging. Depending on your organisation's existing issues, leaders may require training in both soft and hard skills.

New and aspiring leaders, for example, may need to improve abilities such as dispute resolution, listening, and time management before they can take on their responsibilities.

On the other hand, senior executives may require training to keep up with emerging trends and technologies like virtual reality and artificial intelligence (AI), which will help them better define the company's overall strategy.

Many employees believe that leadership training, like other forms of training, is outmoded. Who wants to listen to a lecture all day? The antiquated methods of lectures and presentations are simply out of step with today's problems and do not suit the needs of the majority of employees.

To create an effective leadership training programme, organisations need to:

  • Define the learning goals
  • Mix and match the best leadership training strategies
  • Include hands-on training
  • Define success for the leaders
  • Create a learning culture

Leadership training is increasingly viewed as an obsolete, one-dimensional, fixed and one-size-fits-all kind of approach. It’s like putting in a lot of time and effort for little in return as leaders must now manage and operate in increasingly unpredictable, uncertain, and complex business environments.

What is Leadership Development?

Leadership development is about building an atmosphere where people develop leadership skills, talents, behaviours, and attitudes. It's all about forming a web of connections among people who collaborate for the greater good. Furthermore, it all boils down to cultivating a leadership culture.

Leadership is a social and interpersonal process since it involves other people. It is impossible to be a leader in a vacuum.

When organisations invest in leadership development, they hope to drive change. In this scenario, organisations look ahead to confront the present and future, recognising the need constantly to improve and enhance what they do, how they do it, and how they measure it.

To create an effective leadership development programme, organisations need to focus on

  • Mentoring and coaching
  • 360-degree assessments
  • Experiential learning
  • On-the-job education

For those enrolled in a leadership development programme, professionals understand that they will never have all the solutions, and they have the humility to recognise that and ask for help.

They are always learning via experience and assisting their teams in doing the same and growing as a result. This entails mentorship, continuous development, and executive coaching, aligning their personal needs with the company's desired results.


A strong culture of training and development is the foundation of a successful corporate strategy. The rest is a matter of defining the learning goals and selecting appropriate activities for the current and future leaders.

In a dynamic business world, firms must adopt long-term strategies for developing new leaders and improving the abilities of existing ones. Thus, any company that aspires to thrive today must invest in leadership development and training programmes.

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