How to Choose a Leadership Development Program

 In Employee Engagement, Employees, Human Resources, Training & Development

To get the most out of the training, it should be focused on the leader’s specific job, and any associated exercises should reflect that…

Many different leadership development programs are available for companies willing to invest in them. In fact, according to Training Industry magazine, companies spent approximately $370 billion on leadership training in 2019. When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, many of these companies discovered just how effective their training programs were. In many instances, the results were not what they expected.

Choose the Right Program

Many companies take the path of least resistance when choosing their training programs. For example, they may base their decision of cost or popularity. Although that may work for some companies, the curriculum of many training programs centers on an overview of leadership skills, which is appropriate for inexperienced leaders who need introductory-level training. To become more agile and able to handle the continuing challenges with prepared teams that understand the company’s goals, everyone, especially the leadership team, needs to be able to act in unison.

Most companies seeking to promote leadership qualities need to dig deeper into what they want their leadership program to accomplish. They need programs that align with the company’s strategic plan and culture.

Identify Needed Skills

That means identifying the skills the company’s leaders and future leaders need to improve to ensure that the company is better prepared to meet any challenges that come its way — especially if those challenges are as rapid and disruptive as Covid-19.

The type of objective self-assessment this task requires is hard because it forces leaders to look at their individual strengths and weaknesses. It is not easy for anyone to hear they are not good listeners or that they do not handle conflict well when they believe those are their top skills. For the good of the company, however, they need to accept the criticism and move forward.

Pay Attention to Company Trends

This is where company culture plays a big role. Company leaders should pay attention to trends in the results. If “needs to listen better” shows up more than twice in the company’s top leaders, that may mean a bigger issue needs to be addressed.

Another factor to keep in mind is that everyone learns differently. Thus, training programs need to be personalized to a certain extent. The program can include classroom and group discussion with individualized follow-up or it might be one-on-one coaching. Training that focuses on the learner will be more successful and sustainable.

Focus on Specific Jobs

To get the most out of the training, it should be focused on the leader’s specific job, and any associated exercises should reflect that. For example, training for a chief operating officer might include learning how to differentiate between major issues and minor ones. Coaching may be the best type of training for this individual.

Training for an entry-level sales rep might include sales techniques as well as techniques for the particular industry or customer base as well as training in the specific product or service the rep will be selling. In this case, a class or group setting is sufficient. As the person moves up in the company, the level of training required will change. The end result may be a mix of programs, each suited for a different level of personnel.

If the pandemic taught us anything, it is that we need to be prepared for the unexpected. Investing in leadership training is one way companies can be prepared in the future.

Contact us today to help you devise a leadership development program tailored to your company.

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