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Leadership issues are something that companies across North America face, including the federal government. A recent survey conducted by the United States federal government found that many civilian employees find their senior leaders are awfully lackluster in many areas.

For instance, only 50 percent of respondents have a positive view of the honesty and integrity of senior agency leadership, which is a 7 percent decline from the last time the survey was taken. Additionally, only 38 percent of employees agreed their leaders inspired a high level of motivation and commitment to their jobs, which also declined since 2012.

The Washington Post interviewed Carol Bonosaro, president of the Senior Executives Association, and noted one of the big problems with the survey was that it did not specify which senior leaders were being referred to. As Bonosaro noted, the study’s comments about senior leadership could be directed toward political appointees, civil servants, senior executives or cabinet secretaries, which makes it difficult for federal agencies to improve their leadership skills.

Improving organizational leadership
Poor leadership can be detrimental to the success of any organization, whether it is a federal agency or a startup business. An ineffective leader may cause some conflicts between employees and management. It may lead to disengagement as well, with employees becoming less motivated to work and perform. Finally, poor leadership could even result in ineffectual business moves and decision-making.

While government agencies may not be able to identify which leaders need to improve their skills, the key takeaway here is that it is a problem that can be addressed. Many people in leadership positions are appointed to those roles because of excellence in prior positions, which means they may not know how to be effective leaders.

Fortunately, leadership is not something that is a natural talent – it is not like a physical trait. If people are not skilled leaders, leadership is something that can developed and trained through work experiences and courses. Many businesses rely on on-the-job experience as a primary means of bringing leaders up to speed after promotion, but this is ineffective because it takes longer – it is like trying to learn how to ride a bike without your parents giving you advice.

While these work experiences are invaluable for becoming a better leader, leadership training can help expedite the process. Whether it is a company executive or simply a project leader, taking training courses is pivotal for teaching people how to achieve success within their role at the company.

Strong leaders are competitive necessities, allowing businesses to steer their teams through any challenges or obstacles that may come their way. Being able to not only manage people, but make the appropriate business decisions and evaluate scenarios effectively, is crucial to the success of any company, regardless of which industry or sector they serve.