In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of investing in leadership training and the best practices for creating a healthy leadership development program.
Leadership training requires time and money investment. The goal of leadership training is to ensure strength, experience, knowledge, compassion, commitment and corporate culture and goals are within each corporate leader. According to Fionnuala Courtney, Director of Global Sales Operations at PulseLearning, effective leadership training results in six major benefits:
- It increases productivity. Good leaders bring out the best in their teams by displaying empathy, support, and emotional intelligence.
- It increases retention. Says Courtney, “75% of people voluntarily leaving jobs don’t quit their jobs; they quit their bosses!” By fostering good leadership through appropriate training, you can decrease costly turnover.
- It nurtures future leaders. You may not be in need of new mid-level and senior management now, but when the time comes, won’t it be nice to have a pipeline of qualified, prepared individuals from whom to choose.
- It improves employee engagement in two ways: 1) Employees being trained for leadership positions see a future with the company and become more invested in its success. 2) Improved management practices lead to better relationships, an enhanced work culture, and therefore more engaged employees.
- It pinpoints effective leadership styles. Leadership is not a cookie-cutter quality; one style does not fit all. Leadership training helps your leaders and future leaders find and hone their own, personal leadership style so they can lead in a way that’s authentic to them and valuable to the organization.
- It results in better decision-making. Says Courtney, “Leaders functioning at a high level of emotional intelligence have the perspective to make informed, intelligent business decisions.” Intelligent business decisions lead to higher revenue, profits and a higher market share.
The best leadership development training offers something for everyone. It should be structured and scaffolded for new leaders, senior and mid-level managers (Chief Learning Officer). Some topics might apply to everyone, but wise training and development leaders will arrange for breakout sessions to address job-specific training points.
Provide Small, Frequent Bursts of Training
Personal leadership advisory consultant Gregory Welch asserts that leadership training should be frequent, highly relevant, and performed in short bursts. “The shift toward shorter, more targeted training,” he says, “promises to improve the relevance of training programs and increase retention in a world where attention spans are short and the way people consume information has changed” (SpencerStuart). Virtual training solutions, like Jigsaw Interactive, makes these more frequent training easier to schedule and promises the ability to have engaged and effective training/learning for leaders.
Target the Training
After performing a needs assessment, companies should target leadership development initiatives to those areas where they find weak spots in important leadership competencies (CCL.org). For this strategy, it’s crucial to have high-quality assessment and data analytics tools. For new leaders, the same applies but will need to be identified in different ways. Understanding the new leaders’ personalities, experiences, beliefs, work styles and goals will help identify focus areas.
Invest in Remote Learning
COVID-19 may have catalyzed the virtual learning trend, but it also shed light on its effectiveness. “Leadership,” says leadership development expert Michael Leimbach, “perhaps more than other capabilities, needs to be learned within the work context and ‘dripped’ to new leaders over time, rather than taught to them in a five-day ‘boot camp’ event” (Training). He asserts that virtual, instructor-led leadership training (VILT) results in greater behavior change in a shorter time.
To gain the best results, choose a virtual technology that focuses on learning and engagement. The virtual technology chosen can make or break a great leadership program. Leaders should be doing during training and not just listening. Being able to break the group into small learning rooms where each room houses different information and projects provides invaluable learning experiences for everyone. One size does not fit all so ensuring each group is focused on their particular areas helps ensure the growth and development of leaders.