The Commercial Necessity of Leadership Development

As I made my way into London this morning, I read an article about the cost of absenteeism to private sector businesses. The figure currently stands at an average of £522 per employee each year. This absenteeism is having a huge impact on productivity and the bottom line for UK businesses. But despite more than 70% of those businesses admitting that absence has a direct effect on profitability, over a third of these have no idea how much absenteeism costs them. They don’t have a tool in place for tracking absenteeism let alone understanding the reasons a person was absent and that’s before we have even considered the indirect costs some businesses may have through agency fees and covering sickness.

The CIPD have recently published a survey which touched upon reasons for absenteeism. It suggested that almost two-fifths of UK businesses have seen an increase in stress related absences with managers and management style increasingly blamed. Personally, while I respect that people management may not be everyone’s forte and there are ‘bad bosses’ out there, I do feel that many organisations short change employees by not investing in their leadership skills from the get go. They fail to coach them on how to manage people so as to prevent the absenteeism in the first place. All too often we promote from within and either through lack of time, investment or both we assume these new leaders know how to lead. In some instances, this is a ticking time bomb and the collateral damage can be harsh.

Traditionally, organisations are managing this through regular Return to Work interviews – this can reduce the costs but does not solve the cause. Another approach and one which I would fully promote is to create a culture where people feel valued and engaged. Where they feel effectively resourced and are led in a way in which they feel their well being is a concern. We can achieve this by upskilling the leaders who manage those people. 

Leadership development is not a nice to do but a commercial necessity and this was brought home to me again this week while reading these articles. A successful leadership program will drive learning in a way that it gets leaders/managers to think about their behaviours and their personal brand, feel empowered enough to confidently contribute to change within an organisation and share the company values to a level that they can then cascade down to their team not because they have to but because they want to. 

Truly inspirational leaders understand the need to connect, serve and invest in their team’s development. It is an honour to be working with so many through my work as a coach and consultant and I look forward to meeting many more over the coming months.

Suzy Beech, ICF Certified Coach

If you would like to hear more about how Mindset Associates can help you with Leadership Development programs or other development interventions, please visit or contact me at

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