Leadership development programs help employees develop the skills that produce strong leaders such as communication, coaching and feedback, and building inclusive teams. Effective leadership development programs deliver training aligned to the company’s skills gaps and culture goals.
In this post, we'll cover all you need to know to plan, develop, and nurture a successful leadership development program at your organization.
Here's what you'll learn:
The Purpose of Leadership Training
Not all leadership skills are innate to employees. For example, while some leaders delegate well, they may struggle with providing constructive feedback. Leadership training can improve a leader’s ability to show initiative when tackling complex issues and remain resilient during adversity. Because leaders, consciously or unconsciously, model behaviors that their teams will emulate, the skills that employees develop during their training impact the leaders themselves and influence their colleagues and emerging leaders. Building leadership skills can improve work environments and foster a culture of growth that applies to all business areas. Everyone has the potential to improve, and leadership training can impact new leaders and provide insight into ways seasoned leaders can build on their current skills.
Building a Leadership Development Strategy
Whether you’re creating a leadership development strategy from scratch or looking to add to your current approach, your leadership development program should identify the skills your organization values in solid leaders. Most commonly, these skills include improving leader communication with team members, recognizing and addressing what the team needs as a whole and as individual members, delivering effective feedback, and promoting inclusion within teams. The content provided in the leadership development program should align with your organization’s skills gaps and your core competencies. An effective leadership development strategy also recognizes that sticky learning doesn’t happen within a specific timeframe - it should be ongoing to promote better retention. Knowledge checks are also essential for employees to acknowledge how they understand and retain the information.
Unlocking Your Organization’s Leadership Potential
In many organizations, a lack of effective leadership is one of their biggest obstacles, as the skills leaders currently have are inadequate for organizations’ current and future leadership needs. Fortunately, leadership development programs can resolve the “leadership gap” problem. The skills great leaders need can be built by employees with a growth mindset and a drive to change.
Developing Executive Leadership
Although there are some universal qualities to leaders, some leaders will have different leadership objectives than others. Your executive leaders are responsible for creating a motivational vision for others in the organization to follow, so in their training, your C-Suite leaders will need to learn how to communicate that vision effectively and continuously. Your executives also must understand how to align your organization with that vision and break down the silos that can hinder departmental collaboration.
Developing People Leaders
While executives are responsible for developing the vision, people leaders are responsible for helping to carry out that vision. In aligning their team members with the company vision, the leadership skills people leaders should hone revolve around team culture development and servant leadership. These skills can include connecting with team members on a professional and personal level, communicating effectively and model empathy, setting performance standards for their people, and evaluating employee progress in an equitable and unbiased manner.
Leadership Training Outcomes
Training is not easily quantified, so how do you calculate the ROI of leadership training outcomes? For their study on leadership development training, Training Industry used the five-level Phillips/Kirkpatrick model of training evaluation and discovered that there was a 29% ROI within the first three months of training and 415% ROI after 12 months of training. To better assess training outcomes, organizations should identify which criteria they wish to improve upon such as more effective coaching and feedback or more diversity in hiring and promotion and look for evidence of increased actions related to that criteria.
Impact of Leadership Development Programs
When leaders are developed properly, the impacts have ripple effects. At the leader level, employees who are developed into leaders can realize their high potential for growth (after all, you chose to hire your people for a reason!) At the company-wide level, leadership development programs also increase employee engagement and improve employee retention, while also boosting innovation and forward-thinking.
What is Leadership?
We think of leaders as people who oversee other people, but in reality, leaders are those who can influence and guide others. Employees do not have to be in a C-suite or management position to show leadership. Although there are many theories on leadership styles, leaders do not always display just one type of leadership. Depending on the situation and on their subordinates, leaders may be more authoritative in emergencies where actions are needed quickly and employees are less experienced, and those same leaders may implement a laissez-faire leadership style with seasoned employees who have a proven ability to work independently. Leaders assess the needs of their people to determine what skills they can develop in their employees. For example, a leader might implement a questioning style of leadership where they guide by asking the employee questions about their project to encourage critical thinking. In another instance, that leader might use an “idealist” leadership style in which they suggest lofty ideas that inspire the employee to implement problem-solving skills.
What Makes a Good Leader?
Good leaders possess a core set of attributes that allow employees to bring their best and authentic selves to work each day. Leaders who are responsible and consistent help employees to feel supported and secure when they need help or advice from their leaders. Hardworking leaders are apt to engage in servant leadership to put the needs of their team before their own. Leaders who are trustworthy invite open communication and successfully hold difficult conversations. Motivational leaders encourage employee engagement and maintain a positive work culture.
What is the Difference Between Leadership and Management?
Although “leadership” and “management” are often interchangeable in the corporate world, in practice they are different. Leadership is a more inspirational term, as leaders influence, motivate, and help others move toward a shared goal. Leaders do not have to be managers to show leadership qualities. Managers, however, are based in a hierarchy, having direct influence over a subset of employees. Managers may tend to be less focused on utilizing their relationships with their team members to complete tasks and more focused on the results, data, or numbers.
Essential Skills and Tools for Leading Teams
Picture the traditional corporate office from 50 years ago: the department may have been primarily of one gender, one majority racial group or ethnicity, and almost everyone may have been non-disabled. Everyone was likely in the same office in cubicles. Now picture today's culture: some work in the office, and some work remotely. Teams look and sound diverse, and individual cultural, ability, and dispositional differences impact how they interact. To adapt to today’s modern organizational structures, leaders must learn essential skills around inclusivity, remote work, adaptability, and well-being to establish a well-oiled corporate machine.
Inclusive leaders build teams where employees feel like they belong by creating psychologically safe environments. These leaders must develop cultural intelligence and an awareness of leadership behaviors that foster inclusive spaces, such as connecting personally with DEI initiatives, asking more questions, and creating tasks that can help improve diversity, equity, and inclusion on their teams.
To learn more about how to build inclusive leaders, download this FREE ebook today!
As companies have evolved to meet the needs of their people, more and more are offering remote and hybrid work opportunities. Communication is vital with remote teams, and leaders must uncover new ways to develop employee relationships such as holding daily short huddles, sharing photos and other personal updates over the company communication platforms, and through video chats with cameras on.
Leaders may need to pivot their leadership approach in response to a specific situation, including considering the team members’ abilities and attitudes who will help address it. Situational leaders must hone skills such as insight, flexibility, trust, and critical thinking to implement the correct action, whether it be delegating, directing, or supporting others, at the right time.
Unlike situational leadership, which is event-specific, adaptive leaders are future-focused and prioritize action items that affect the team’s direction long-term. These leaders also need to hone their cognitive and emotional flexibility, as well as display optimism and realism.
Managing Team Well-Being
Companies are increasing their focus on employees’ health and wellness. After all, if people are not taking care of themselves physically and mentally, they will not bring their best selves to work. Leaders can check in with their people by talking to their employees and looking for the “red flags” of struggles, such as erratic work hours, a lack of availability, more volatile emotions, impulsivity, or increased physical complaints. Leaders can also help their people set well-being goals, recognize their achievements in that area, and boost morale by discussing how their employees continue to fit into the organization’s vision.
Fostering Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence directly impacts employees’ decision-making and communication skills. For leaders to instill emotional intelligence in their people, they must first look inward to ensure they have the compassion and empathy to work with the varying degrees of emotional intelligence of others. When employees respond to an observation or comment with anger, leaders should prepare for the response in advance, focus on why the comment was made, and help employees develop an action plan.
Other employees might respond to criticism with tears; leaders should recognize the emotion as a response to pressure and focus on the data behind the criticism. The purpose behind building emotional intelligence is not to become a therapist for your people but rather to improve employees’ responses to obstacles and conflict.
Building a High Performing Virtual Team
Leaders of virtual teams must adapt their communication style, management methods, and priorities to help their people feel connected and stay productive in remote settings. Good leaders will maintain a sense of connectedness and belonging and proactively reach out regularly to their teams on a group and one on one basis to check in on how people are feeling and performing. When leading a virtual team, leaders should prioritize evaluating what work is being done, instead of when and where it's being done.
Developing Transformational Leaders
Transformational leadership takes the concept of leadership to another level. Different from “transactional” leadership, in which leaders use disciplinary actions and incentives to reward employees for performance to keep the “corporate machine” running smoothly, transformational leaders are future-focused, inspirational, and motivational. Transformational leaders can foster a strong corporate culture and encourage employee autonomy, in which employees work independently and the environment is free of micromanagers.
How to Identify Potential Leaders
While it’s important to develop your current leaders at your organization, it’s equally imperative to plan the career paths of future leaders by recognizing the high performers in your organization who have leadership potential. High performers have the knowledge and ability to do their current job, the social skills to build quality relationships with colleagues, and the drive to exceed expectations.
However, those qualities are not enough to make a good leader. Great leaders are the high performers who are also strategic, future-thinking, organized, and focused on developing others. Spotting those qualities in your employees to identify the great future leaders among your ranks requires an intentional, cross-functional approach. Here are some ways you can identify and nurture potential leaders:
Developing new leaders through formal and informal coaching is a great way to help organizations share and grow institutional knowledge. Through coaching, employees can receive feedback in the moment to help them hone their communications and management skills. Coaches can also help their people discover the "why" behind leadership styles that work for particular organizational cultures, helping them shape their burgeoning leadership skills.
The annual employee performance review is not the only time when future leaders should receive feedback; frequent feedback is essential for people to understand when they are following the correct path. Constructive feedback is both positive statements to reward specific accomplishments and negative statements to guide improvements. Read more about giving and receiving feedback in this eBook, Conquering Feedback: Strategies to Level-Up Workplace Feedback.
When evaluating the performance of emerging leaders, having a written set of goals and expectations helps future leaders periodically review their plan for tracking their achievements. The annual performance review allows leaders and their employees to look at progress holistically over time, while regular assessment and feedback meetings are effective in establishing checkpoints where employees can analyze their actions and make near-term plans for adjustment and growth.
When leaders evaluate each other, egos and self-doubts can impede the reception of the feedback. However, beginning the evaluation process by using self-assessments and focusing on development goals can help leaders to focus on the potential of other leaders. Using specific, objective examples when providing negative and positive feedback helps to remove the feeling of a personal attack and opens the door to dialogue about setting up a plan to avoid future errors.
Stretch Assignments and Shadowing
Leaders may see leadership potential in their high-performing employees, but those same employees may not feel prepared to enter a leadership position. Through stretch assignments, employees can break out of their comfort zones to enter the growth zone, building confidence in developing new skills while completing projects. Offering shadowing opportunities where employees can learn from cross-team experience allows future leaders to gain a high-level perspective on how teams function and help them think differently about problem-solving.
Developing Leadership Diversity
Representation of diverse populations in leadership positions matters. Aside from the economic benefits of a diverse workforce, when businesses don’t incorporate diversity in their leadership ranks, their limited perspectives and lived experiences inhibit innovation and business growth. Companies can create mentorship programs to provide future leaders with a tailored approach to their career development, and pair future leaders with sponsors who can advocate on their behalf. Building equity and inclusion goals into succession plans are essential for organizations to achieve their leadership diversity goals.
Skills All Leadership Trainings Should Teach Managers
The core set of skills managers can develop through the right training program can help them fulfill their true leadership potential. Leadership training asks managers to self-reflect on their current leadership characteristics and then arm them with tools that take them and their teams to a whole new level. Impulsive actors can become critical thinkers; micromanagers can learn to let go of their autocratic control and delegate work instead. Conflict avoiders can become conflict de-escalators. Leadership training has the potential to turn weaknesses into mindful strengths.
Identifying Your Leadership Style
Leaders may implement different leadership styles depending on the situation and their employees' needs. However, it is common for leaders to have a dominant style they use most often. Psychologist Kurt Lewin found three common leadership styles: authoritarian, democratic, and laissez-faire. While there is no one correct style, each approach can serve a particular purpose. Authoritarian leadership is useful when a quick direction is needed and time is essential, democratic leadership helps teammates contribute ideas for problem-solving, and laissez-faire leadership works when team members work well independently. When leaders identify their preferred leadership styles, they can also learn to adapt to other styles as needed.
Developing a Critical Mindset
Critical thinking is essential for consciously, carefully, and systematically analyzing information. Leaders with a critical thinking mindset can plan for the future easier and avoid mishaps from impulsiveness and biases. Leaders with this mindset can also recognize when their people are utilizing critical thinking and dive into analyzing teams and processes to achieve the desired results.
Delegation requires a high level of trust and communication with employees. Leaders who learn to delegate communicate heavily on the front end of assigning tasks by meeting with the person receiving the task and confirming they understand the project and its commitment needs. Great leaders will define their level of involvement in the project and set up a schedule to receive updates from their people.
Motivating a Team
Leaders motivate their people by listening to discover what intrinsically motivates their team. Motivating factors often include challenging and meaningful work, recognition of achievement, responsibility, involvement in decision making, and a sense of importance to an organization. Frederick Herzberg’s Two-Factor Theory states that not only are those motivating factors important, but employees also want “hygiene factors”, such as status, job security, salaries, good working conditions, benefits, and vacation time. It’s the leader's job to decide how to balance and fulfill motivations to boost employee morale.
Making Good Decisions
Leaders' ability to make good decisions are built by developing secondary skills such as better active listening, recognizing biases that impede decision-making, and accountability. When leaders communicate more effectively to understand the problem, they can set challenging objectives quickly and follow through with handling the consequences (both good and bad) of decisions made.
Handling conflict requires nuance in effectively discussing issues directly with employees and courage to manage reactions in employees’ responses. In “hot” conflicts when tensions are high, leaders can diffuse the situation by setting a foundation for professional discussion to avoid personal attacks. They can also provide a cooling-off period so employees can engage rationally with each other. In “cold” conflicts, such as when employees are silent or passive-aggressive, acknowledging the tension and inviting people to express themselves can encourage open discussion and debate.
Understanding Performance Management
To gain insight into performance management, leaders need to gather and analyze their employees’ actions and skills. Leaders can establish criteria to evaluate employees on goals and objectives for the team and the department. Keeping a written log of data throughout the year and recording specific examples of how employees met those objectives can help leaders prepare for the reviews. Analyzing reviews beforehand allows leaders to identify any biases or any outstandingly positive or negative items to highlight.
Leveraging Digital Leadership Skills
To adapt to the digital world, leaders should embrace the fluid nature of the decentralized team structure and the ever-changing business tech. By remaining open-minded and curious, leaders guide their employees in exploring new information technologies with a positive attitude. By learning about concepts such as; digital innovation, security, and sustainability, leaders can ensure their organization stays relevant.
Preparing for Change Management
Humans naturally tend to fear and reject change. Leaders must inform their people about change and influence them to remain optimistic and open-minded about organizational changes. Communication is key in confirming the psychological safety of employees. Leaders should keep communications relatively simple to not overwhelm employees with too much information, remain clear and direct in their communication, and ask for feedback to confirm that employees understand the new processes or expectations. By reviewing these changes frequently with their team, employees can adjust to the change with better understanding and certainty.
Mastering Influence and Negotiation
Leaders are responsible for directing others in their work. Their ability to influence others to act according to their expectations is essential for leading a high-performing team. Instead of always speaking on behalf of their people, leaders can empower their people to advocate for themselves. This behavior will better balance their sphere of influence with their span of accountability for their people.
Communication is vital for almost every job, but for leaders, using proactive communication rather than reactive communication can help address urgent situations more efficiently and with less conflict. By building trust, learning about cultural differences within their teams, bringing their authentic selves to work, and asking for feedback, leaders can foster an environment where frequent and transparent communication is commonplace.
Learning Core Leadership Practices
Encouraging future leaders to learn the core leadership practices will set them up for success when they step into their new roles. Demonstrating respect for others, setting expectations for behavior and work ethic, communicating frequently and positively, and celebrating success are qualities that will help employees transition into leadership smoothly.
Key Career Stages Where Leadership Training is Important
There is no “one size fits all” approach for training leaders, as employees bring unique professional and life experience to their roles. Tailoring leadership training to employees’ career levels and trajectories ensures that leaders receive the resources and knowledge they need at the correct stage in their development.
Early to Mid-Career Leadership Training
Early to mid-career is a great time to build foundational leadership skills such as effective communication, trust-building, delegation, and project management. Younger leaders tend to feel like they need to prove their value, so it’s also beneficial for training programs to introduce skills around humility, curiosity, and self-awareness to begin to develop their emotional intelligence.
Mid-Career Leadership Training
Leaders in the middle of their careers have had some experience already, so they tend to be more confident than younger leaders. Since these leaders may have developed habits and practices over a longer period, focusing on skills around inclusion and critical thinking to help them improve the way things are will help mid-career leaders to grow. If they have been leaders for a while, they may also need additional training on cultural and generational competence, team psychological safety and belonging, and digital strength.
Top-Level Leadership Training
Leaders at the top of an organization have a high-level vision for the direction of their department or organization. Similar to mid-career managers, top-level leaders may need to re-examine current processes or work on their adaptability and digital leadership to adopt new processes and further innovation. Training programs for executive leaders must also focus on the business imperative of diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging for both business outcomes and employee satisfaction and well-being.
Benefits of Leadership Development Programs
Attract, Develop, and Retain Talent
Talent acquisition and retention is the foundation of a profitable organization and quality work culture. By developing leadership skills from the beginning of an employee’s career, candidates feel more optimistic about the organization, their purpose in the company, and their future career path. Employees with proper leadership training set themselves up for success by; learning how to better interact with coworkers and clients, balancing their workloads, and developing their vision for their team, department, or organization.
Reduce Onboarding Costs
Talent acquisition is expensive. The process to recruit, interview and train employees is a time-consuming process, so coaching employees properly from the start can reduce onboarding costs. And when employees receive proper leadership training, companies can spend less money sourcing personnel externally and promote internally instead.
Reduce Turnover Costs
Employees leave organizations for a variety of reasons, including bad leadership and a lack of upward mobility. Companies can reduce turnover costs by educating their leaders through leadership development programs. When organizations create a culture of learning, employees can benefit from transparent communication within teams, clear goals and expectations, a better work-life balance, and diverse perspectives from a wider variety of applicants who are excited to join the company.
Improve the Bottom-Line
Well-trained leaders build inclusive, high-performing teams that more effectively engage employees. People that work hard in a healthy work culture drive business and, ongoing skill-building promotes critical thinking, innovation, and future success.
Drive Strategy Execution
Leaders motivate their people to think strategically and to carry out positive results. Before employees get motivated, they need to visualize and align with their purpose within the organization. Leaders can assist with creating that vision by providing clear objectives to attain through SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-sensitive) goals. When leaders provide employees with continual support, employees can achieve long-term results.
Increase Success in Navigating Change
Effective leaders help their teams adapt to and work through changes to achieve better outcomes. Leaders who are skilled in communicating and illustrating vision, setting a tone for positivity and resilience, and handling the hurdles that are naturally a part of organizational change, will help their organization weather changes successfully.
Increase Employee Engagement
Leadership development allows employees to envision their future with the company and fosters a better work environment for the organization's leaders. In Harvard Business Review’s 9 employee engagement archetypes, engagement is the intersection of work ethic and attitude. When leaders provide a clear vision, recognize employee contributions and achievements, and navigate their teams through obstacles, employees’ attitudes become optimistic. This vision leads them to be more motivated to achieve their goals.
Boost Employee Satisfaction
Leaders who understand and fulfill employees’ needs and wants create higher employee satisfaction. Enforcing work-life balance, providing employees with autonomy to do their jobs, creating a growth atmosphere with transparent communication, and fostering belonging are techniques leaders can learn via leadership development training.
Fuel Continuous Learning
Leaders who model the desire to learn and actively engage in lifelong learning and development inspire their employees to self-reflect on their growth. Continuous learning helps organizations spark the creativity and innovation that allows for company growth, both in profits and people.
Communication is the basis of all employee interaction. When leaders learn to communicate effectively, employees feel respected and heard. By empathizing with others, leaders can tailor their communication towards their team’s values, status, and humanity to understand circumstances better and provide a valuable employee experience.
What Elements are Important in a Leadership Development Program?
A leadership development program is useless if no one completes it. Leaders should self-direct their training to have more autonomy over their progress and the content they believe they should learn. Employees should also be provided reminders, via email or via internal communication, to engage with the content and remind them of their accountability in the training process.
Goals and Milestones
Training programs should provide employees with an easy way to set goals and achieve milestones in their learning. Managers can add a SMART goal for learning to their employees' development plan, or employees can choose their own goals based on a specific number of courses achieved or points earned. Leaders can also celebrate their people’s learning milestones when courses are completed with a group discussion about the content for semantic retention.
Having processes to measure the leadership skills learned in a training program can provide the ROI on learning. By assessing employees before and after training, capturing the number of courses completed and the number of knowledge checks answered, and surveying employees on company culture, organizations can better understand the effectiveness of the leadership development training.
Address a Variety of Leadership Styles
The leadership style needed by leaders in a scenario depends on the situation and the employees involved. The leadership development program should educate leaders on the multiple leadership styles and the results each leadership style can provide.
HR's Role in Developing Leaders
Because HR teams are responsible for recruiting potential leaders, mitigating employee conflicts, and off-boarding employees, HR personnel directly impact career development and retention of their people. HR teams strive to hire the right people for the right roles and help leaders develop their people by providing job structures, a clear definition of successful performance, a framework to assess employee progress, and incentives to recognize achievement. Most importantly, HR’s ability to provide ongoing training that can instill change in attitudes and behaviors over time allows the high performers to maximize their business results and reinvigorates employee engagement for those who have growth potential. Finding the right training resources to develop leaders effectively can help employees grow. Leadership training courses are just one component of kickstarting a new culture of learning and growth.
Defining Strategy and Culture
To foster the most productive work environment, organizations must blend a strategy for success and positive work culture. Strategy is the future-based foundation for decision-making and tends to be impersonal. Culture is the work environment that allows for psychological safety, effective communication, and problem-solving. While strategy is more easily definable for organizational success, culture is equally important. Culture and leadership are inherently linked. Leaders' actions, intentional or accidental, can influence work culture positively or negatively. And employees’ ability to perform within the culture directly impacts the successful execution of business strategies.
Overcome Leadership and Management Challenges
Why Leadership Training Fails
Although many organizations recognize the importance of leadership development and implement programs for their leaders, leadership training can still fail to develop leaders effectively and organizations must self-reflect on their processes to understand why. In some companies, top-level leaders do not recognize the importance of learning and cut learning budgets, limit the time allotted to self-development, or skip the training altogether. HR departments might not survey their people to understand the leadership gaps and therefore select learning providers who can not train employees on the necessary skills. The training may not be vetted and ends up theoretical, with no clear understanding of how to apply the skills. For successful results, companies must include learning in their policies and coordinate training completion companywide. Training programs should provide companies with feedback on the perception, and implementation of the training.
Overcoming Barriers to Change
Changing organizational cultures and transforming leaders is a major undertaking for many companies. People are naturally resistant to change, as uncertainty can cause stress regarding an unpredictable environment. However, with courage, patience, and the resources needed to adapt to the new tools or the changing workplace, leaders can benefit from the long-term employee satisfaction they will gain. The best training providers are your best support with brainstorming solutions if your organization struggles to adapt to the new training. Training helps employees discover how to find time to learn, educates them on the neuroscience of training, and the best method to delivering training.
Handling Stress, Uncertainty, and Setbacks
Much of the stress leaders experience originates from the struggle in overcoming setbacks in their team's learning journey or dealing with uncertain or unpredictable results. Leaders should focus on priorities and gather trusted feedback from their leaders and employees on the obstacles at hand. Meditation, self-compassion, and gratitude practice can help individuals cope with their emotions and better prepare for handling setbacks. Leaders can reframe setbacks by acknowledging the stress and defining their sphere of influence in effecting a positive outcome. Most importantly, leaders should not be afraid to ask for help when needed.
Developing Leadership Resilience
When faced with an unexpected negative outcome, leaders need to recover from the setback and focus on future positive results. Taking time to pause and reflect will help leaders learn from their failures, but leaders should also acknowledge the positive aspects of the setback. Embracing the ability to endure, leaders should remain optimistic and trust that other solutions might lead to a more positive outcome. When leaders are open to pivoting to a new approach, employees can follow their direction and work toward different solutions. After all, each setback creates a path to increase resilience in the future.
How to Make a Virtual Leadership Program a Success
Virtual leadership programs are becoming more popular in recent years, as they tend to be more accessible, and employees can participate in learning on their schedules. For a successful virtual leadership program, management must allot time for learning in employees’ schedules and communicate the importance of the learning. The content should be engaging and timely so employees will remember the learning and enjoy the learning process to keep coming back for more. Making learning available when and where employees want it and reminding employees it’s available also encourages utilization. Different employees prefer different learning modalities, so content should be available in written, visual, and auditory formats.
Reach all Emerging Leaders
To ensure everyone can take advantage of the learning, market your leadership training so that leaders understand the importance of their learning resources. Remind leaders where they can find it, whether in their inbox, the LMS, or via their Slack or Yammer channels. Collecting feedback on the learning content from emerging leaders will help identify what training is working and what can be improved.
Managing Work Schedules
People have a limited amount of time to spend on learning. Employees must block time in their day to work on their professional development. Training providers that make their content fun and engaging through articles, videos, and games can invite people to take a mental break with their learning. Requiring that leaders encourage participation in employee training will help people feel like they have permission to take the time they need for their learning and development.
Accounting for Diverse Needs
Employees learn differently from each other. Offering training programs that incorporate different learning methods and delivery modalities will boost engagement with the training. Learning content accessible on both desktop and mobile devices enables employees to participate when it best suits them. Training that is not limited to a particular time of day will also remove the burden and stress of scheduling meetings around training times. A variety of articles, videos, and podcasts will provide employees with the content in the format that works for them, and making the content ADA compliant will promote inclusivity in the training program.
What to Look for in a Leadership Development Training Partner
- Customization. Tailoring your content to your people’s specific learning needs will ensure that leaders develop skills in the areas where they need the most support. Training providers should be able to provide a catalog of content to choose from so that you can select the best courses for your people.
- Accessibility. Providing the learning content at a flexible time and place in the format that works best for employees demonstrates the inclusivity needed for all leaders to participate in the training experience. The easiest path to learning will yield the most engagement with the content.
- Quality Content. Employees don’t have time to waste on sub-par content. Courses should be interesting, engaging, and applicable in the real world.
- Positive Reviews. Leaders should enjoy the content and choose to engage in the learning autonomously. When there are so many learning providers out there, selecting an award-winning provider with numerous positive reviews can assure that you choose the correct learning partner.
Choosing the Best Leadership Development Program
The best leadership development programs give leaders the ability to customize the content for the organization and be accessible when and where employees need it. The corporate world is evolving faster than ever, and training programs should anticipate and develop content around new leadership skills. Leadership development content should be fresh and relevant, and leaders should evaluate their progress and check their retention of the content. As technologies develop, training providers should innovate to offer a wide variety of training offerings over time. Implementing the training program should be quick, with readily available and knowledgeable customer service to address any learning or technological obstacles. For example, Blue Ocean Brain's award-winning leadership development content has helped leaders across several industries upskill and develop their teams.
How to Pick the Best Leadership Development Topics for Your Organization
Choosing the best leadership topics should start with evaluating your leaders’ skills gaps. However, your learning partner can help you create learning journeys for your people based on their needs. A great training provider can provide you with a menu of courses to choose from based on the learning journey designed. You should be able to vet the content ahead of time to make sure it aligns with your organization’s vision. Evaluate the progress of the leadership development program over time and make adjustments to the learning journey as needed.