How to Plan Effective Leadership Skills Training?
The leadership team can cause employees to thrive or fail depending on their actions. Effective leaders who lead by example and convey the company’s vision and mission give their employees someone to look up. They help build a way that gives employees ownership in the company's performance and helps employees feel more invested in the work they do. Effective leaders are personable and make it easy for employees to talk things through with them. Excellent leadership is important for a company's future success, but leadership development training is essential in order to create great leaders. Even employees in leadership positions need ongoing training and support. Becoming a leader or the head of an organization who develops more effective leaders is not only gratifying but also vital to the longevity of the organization.
Launching an Effective Leadership Development Training Program
When you prepare to launch a leadership development program, there are a few important steps to take to make sure it is effective. Understanding the needs of your organization, the needs of your people, and your goals for the program ahead of time will help you plan training that develops your leaders so they can perform better in their roles. Leaders who have training available to them feel more valued by the company and more supported by the management. Let's discuss a few very important factors to know before you create your company's leadership development program.
Know the needs of your company
To begin with, you must know your company’s goals and strategies with respect to the market, the intentions to grow, develop or expand business, and the reputation of the brand your company holds. Considering where the organization wants to go, what leadership needs, does your company need to achieve its goals? Considering the long-term goals, what short-term goals are needed and how do those goals find reflection in leadership for your business?
Define what type of leaders you need
What skills could make your leadership team more effective in their roles? What kind of leaders would be valuable for your long-term business success? What key things do you think every leader needs to know, and what qualities do you think each leader needs to possess? Review your vision for the future of your business and what your key objectives are. If you are not clear on these things, carve out some time to really dig in and put them on paper.
Aside from evaluating where your leaders are and defining where you want them to be, also consider who your next leaders could be. Your program should include areas for developing these future leaders by giving them the skills and confidence they'll need when they step into a leadership position. By being proactive and investing in your potential leaders while they are still developing their leadership skills, will help them be better prepared and to feel like they are a valued member of your company.
Create a list of goals and skills to develop
What skills do your leaders currently possess, and what skills do they need more experience developing? In which leadership areas is your company currently lacking? Where would you like to see the most improvement? Taking a good look at your current leadership team and evaluating these aspects will help you get a good idea of what needs to be included in your training program.
Before implementing your training program, you'll need to have goals for the outcome. It's impossible to have an effective program without clear expectations and knowing exactly what knowledge, skills and abilities you want the leaders to demonstrate when back on the job. When you know what you want the end results to look like, you can create a more effective training program by including the courses your leaders will need.
Align your employees' career vision with your business needs
As your leaders continue to grow and take the company to even more successful outcomes, they will continue to need development challenges and learning. If your organization does talent management or performance management as part of your regular people and culture practices, you can use the development plans of your existing leaders as a guidepost to how you may want to structure your leadership development program. Keep in mind that at some point, the goals and needs of your existing leaders will be different than that which future leaders or the future company might need – so build for the future of the company overall.
If your organization does not engage in leadership development or performance management as a rule, it might be a good idea to assess what ‘good’ leadership looks like from a variety of levels (executive, management, functional) to understand what is valued and what is a gap.
Identify which methods of development to use and create a development plan
There are several methods that can be used for developing better leaders: Mentorship programs, formal training, volunteering, task forces, and/or working groups and committees. With your goals, company needs, and current resources in mind, you can decide which methods would be best for your company. Once you have an idea of what you need to train and how many people you need to work with, you can determine the best way to deliver leadership development. The best programs are those that encompass a variety of delivery formats and styles.
Mentorship programs are a great way to develop multiple leaders for different positions because the person in the mentor role has the opportunity to guide, challenge and introduce the mentee into what has worked for the mentor to tap into important skills that have helped them along the way. The potential leader (the mentee) will be able to learn by experiencing the actual day-to-day life of the leader.
Formal training for developing leaders could be in the form of in-person or online classes (or both!) that are taken to learn more about the necessary skills of being an effective leader. This formal training could be regularly scheduled or completed annually. Group-based programs within a formal program can help leaders learn to work together and practice their leadership skills in real-time. While working together, leaders practice constructive feedback and enhance their communication skills.
Volunteering can grow leadership skills in a variety of ways. Volunteering helps leaders work alongside more people from a variety of backgrounds, which helps leaders learn to practice empathy, work with diverse populations, and gain respect for others. It helps leaders build more confidence in themselves and expand their network, and it also helps leaders hone their skills in important areas like time management, communication, and mentoring. For the people working with the leader, they have a chance to see leadership skills in action and have an opportunity to gain ideas or even sponsorship for their own leadership journey.
A task force or multi-skilled project group is a great opportunity to challenge a leader to work with a diverse population. With practice leading a task force, a new leader is able to tap into their skills on a deeper level, work closer with the people they lead, and grow more in their leadership capability.
Measure and analyze the program results.
Before launching, have a plan in place for how you will measure the success of the program. You'll want to know the baseline level of your current leaders’ success to determine if the program effectively helped your employees build their leadership skills. Without a measurable program, there will be no way to quantify the success of it. With this data, you can also make changes to your program as needed, in order to continually make it more effective for developing your leaders.
There are many components of your leadership development training program to consider in order to make it a success, but if you're finding it overwhelming, we can help you develop a custom program that suits your needs. We can analyze your current program and then design and deliver the training your leaders need around the framework that you provide for your organization.
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