No one would argue against the importance of training. Whether you’re trying to get fit, learn a new skill, or form new habits, sticking with a training regimen is necessary for helping you achieve your goals and continue to grow. And yet, when it comes to training leaders within an organization, so many efforts fall short. Why is this? In this blog, we’ll explore why traditional leadership training models so often fail, and what you can do to foster more effective leadership development.
What to Know About Failed Leadership Training
Pitfalls of the “One and Done” Mindset
Training can take many different forms, but it always contains an educational component. As all students know from experience, some educational tools are primarily focused on delivering concrete answers that one can memorize and check off on a multiple-choice questionnaire – other programs, however, are rooted in cultivating a deep understanding of a topic and all its nuances. Leadership training too often falls into this former category, placing more emphasis on the completion of a course than on continued growth. A comprehensive leadership development program, on the other hand, recognizes that leaders never stop learning, providing foundational tools and support systems that help leaders adapt and grow throughout their careers.
Training Can Be Too Narrow or Too Broad
Leadership training programs often have another major problem: they’re either too hyper-focused on an organization’s specific operations or so broad that leaders struggle to apply what they’ve learned in any tangible way. Much like the story of Goldilocks and the three bears, the key to continued growth lies somewhere in between. The ideal leadership development program should offer a wide range of resources and tools, so all bases are covered – but it should also be customized to comfortably mesh with your organization’s vision and goals. At Leadership Resources, our Accelerate Leadership Program is multi-faceted in this way, providing integrated software, leadership content, personal and communal development processes, emotional intelligence training, one-on-one coaching, and more.
The Issue Is Systemic
There’s a bit of push and pull when it comes to training leaders within a particular organization. On the one hand, existing business leaders want to maintain a steady ship, so leadership training is key. On the other hand, cultivating new leadership can put this stability at risk, for better or worse. What often happens, then, is that training protocols become too restrictive. This stagnation is usually unintentional and systemic in nature. Simply put, if individuals aren’t empowered to make necessary changes to the existing system, the system will retain its power, preventing meaningful change. So, in order to unlock the true potential of budding leaders and foster ongoing leadership growth, certain structural barriers must first be overcome.
Overcoming the Obstacles of Leadership Training
The question remains, then: how can a business overcome its systemic issues and provide a leadership program that makes a lasting impact on the individuals and the whole? For starters, top-level leaders should re-establish the organization’s values and clearly define a strategic plan. From there, collect anonymous feedback on current management and training protocols to pinpoint key issues. To tackle these concerns, you may need to reconfigure roles and responsibilities and create new goals aimed at affecting real change. Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure how well you’re achieving these goals and make adjustments as needed. Taking the time to dig into your business’ systemic failures and obstacles in this way will allow you to implement more effective leadership development processes. And as you cultivate stronger leaders, it will become easier to continue making these structural improvements, creating a positive feedback loop that propels your organization (and everyone in it) forward.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is to make the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease obstacles and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More
Your top talent is highly valuable, and therefore also in high demand by other organizations. In this competitive global economy, landing quality people can be challenging in and of itself — keeping them around can be even more difficult. And considering that your company’s potential is directly tied to the potential and performance of its people, you cannot afford to let your top talent slip away.
In our previous post, “How to Keep Top Talent from Leaving Your Company,” we discussed how recruitment, company culture, regular feedback, competitive benefits, and leadership development all contribute to employee retention. Here we’ll further explore how long-term leadership development in particular can help you keep your best talent.
How Leadership Development Keeps Your Best Employees
The Power of Recognition
Effective employee management and leadership development requires plenty of feedback, which should include a healthy mixture of positive recognition and constructive criticism. And while every member of your organization should receive this regular feedback, it is especially important to maintain consistent communication with your best talent. Recognizing your top talent for their input and achievements and pointing out areas of improvement will simultaneously help them further develop their leadership skills while conveying their value to the company. When your people feel valued, they are more likely to stick around.
New Opportunities Energize Employees
There are many ways to develop the leadership potential of your top talent. In-person and online seminars, group training activities, and one-on-one meetings are all part of this equation, but real-world experience is often the most potent form of leadership development. By empowering your top talent to take on new roles and responsibilities, you help them gain crucial insights that are applicable to your organization and at large. This experiential leadership development opens doors for your best talent and lets them know that even more opportunities await if they continue to grow with the company.
Finding the Right Fit for One’s Skills
Long term succession planning is a major focus of all forward-thinking businesses. And a solid plan for the future depends on the advancement of top talent within your organization. Put another way, you need capable leaders at the ready to fill new roles and to take over existing ones when the time is right. Implementing effective leadership development programs not only prepares your top talent for these new positions — it also helps your company find the right positions for the right people. Indeed, employees are more likely to stay with an organization if they feel properly suited for their role and valued for their unique abilities. In other words, as you develop your top talent into strong leaders, they become more integral to the company as a whole and shape its direction moving forward.
The Leadership Domino Effect
The best leadership training programs have a positive, exponential impact on your top talent and all of your employees. As your people grow, they tend to pass on their new skills and knowledge both actively and passively, which encourages others to develop, too. This domino effect strengthens teams and an organization’s culture overall, improving the performance of your current top talent and producing new potential leaders in the process. As a result, you won’t just keep your best talent around — you’ll have even more of it.
Long-Term Success Depends on Long-Term Leadership Development
If you want to retain your best people, you need to recognize their contributions, give them new opportunities, and find the right roles for their talents. Focusing on leadership development helps achieve all of these things and sets your business up for continual success. In this way, effective leadership development, talent management and succession planning are all inextricably linked.
At Leadership Resources, our purpose is making the impossible possible through people. We aim to do so by helping individuals develop patterns of success that will decrease stress levels and maximize productivity. Contact us here to learn more about what we do and how it can help your business succeed and grow at times like these when you need it most.Read More