How to implement an effective leadership development programme

Leadership development is essential to the success of your organisation. It helps to create self-reflective, decisive and motivated leaders throughout the company, giving them the tools they need to succeed and deliver results.

Companies with a leadership development programme in place are better able to attract and retain the right staff, have a more positive company culture and provide better customer service. Leadership development programmes help a company remain flexible, competitive and better able to respond to unforeseen challenges.

How can you implement an effective leadership development programme that meets the needs of employees and the organisation as a whole?

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What is the purpose of a leadership development programme?

Modern workplaces are diverse, with leaders and potential leaders coming from different backgrounds and walks of life. They will each possess their own unique strengths and weaknesses and have their own perspectives on work and what they want to achieve. Often, they will have raw talent and potential that can be harnessed to help the business or organisation grow. They can ultimately be an asset to your business, but they may need training to help them adapt to different company culture and new roles. The workplace is constantly changing as technology brings new solutions. A leadership development programme can help make your organisation become more adaptable over time. It’s the responsibility of senior leadership to invest, develop and grow organisational leaders. This helps to ensure that new leaders within an organisation are properly equipped to take up leadership responsibilities. Companies need to be able to identify the specific attributes and capabilities of their own leaders. Failure to develop the leadership attributes of the next generation risks creating a leadership gap. Leadership development programmes are how companies equip leaders and future leaders with the specific skills, tools and behaviours they need to be able to confidently lead others, as well as improve the performance of their team and the organisation. Successful leadership development at all levels means understanding the current skills and pre-existing capabilities for leadership among your employees and then equipping them with the methods, skills and knowledge that they need to develop those skills. It enables organisations to harness the talents of their employees helping them to fully benefit from the human capital they have at their disposal.

What should be included in a leadership development program?

The contents of leadership development programmes will usually reflect the organisation in which they’re found. There are, however, some key components that are usually looked at and explored. These are focused on key leadership competencies and attributes that are required across organisations and in different settings, and include:

Planning and goal-setting

It’s crucial for participants to establish both short and long-term goals that contribute not only to their own development but to the greater good of the organisation. A leadership development programme will help participants set realistic goals and then ensure that they are working towards them. They will also gain the skills to enable their team and co-workers to set and achieve their overall goals.

Good communication

Communication skills are an essential component of overall leadership skills. Leaders should be able to write, speak, listen and present information clearly. They should also be able to evaluate the best way of communicating specific information.

Negotiation skills

Leaders need to master negotiation skills that can help them navigate interpersonal challenges in the workplace as well as in reaching business and organisational goals. Being able to reflect, communicate and adjust to find mutually beneficial solutions is critical to being an effective and respected leader.

Accountability

Leaders need to be accountable. They should be able to define accountabilities and rigorously monitor how they perform in relation to them. Accountability helps everyone to understand their responsibilities, where they stand and the results they need to achieve.

Delegation

The ability to delegate tasks is crucial to effective leadership. If you delegate effectively you can choose the best team member for a particular task, giving them clear instructions and expectations.

Dependability

Leaders need to have a strong work ethic and high standards of behaviour. Colleagues need to be able to trust that you will deliver. This encompasses skills and aptitudes such as kindness and punctuality that others rely upon in the workplace. This not only sets a good example, it helps to create the right atmosphere in the workplace and provides a framework for an organisation to achieve its goals.

Decisiveness

Being able to make high-quality decisions in a timely manner is a key element of effective leadership. Decisive leaders need to have an understanding of the options they have available, as well as the consequences of their decision. Decisiveness means having the knowledge and experience needed to make an informed decision and this can be developed over time.

Motivation

Good leaders are able to motivate their teams to achieve results. They help teams collectively complete tasks and reach goals. They motivate individuals to grow professionally and to develop their own careers. Self-motivation is also important for helping leaders stretch themselves to reach their objectives and lead by example.

Conflict management

Conflict resolution and management are crucial skills for any leader. The ability to defuse situations and mediate between different parties who have a disagreement prevents issues from becoming a serious problem within the organisation. Leadership development will look at a range of conflict management skills to help leaders tackle problems head-on in an intelligent and sensitive way.

Team building

Effective leaders are able to put together, support and develop an effective team. This comes through identifying people with the right skills and compatible personalities to work together. Team building also involves encouraging collaboration, with training and bonding activities that help teams to learn more about each other, support each other and aid each other's development.

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What do you look for in a leadership development programme?

Successful leadership development programmes share a number of common features. They are:

Start small

First, when a company rolls out a leadership programme it will often start small. This is sensible as it allows you to focus on a small group of people who are already in leadership roles. This can be a more effective approach as it ensures that everyone has the attention and support they need to develop their skills. It also allows the group to build up better relationships.

Experienced tutors and coaches

The most effective leadership development programmes will be led by experienced tutors and coaches who have a well-worked out process that has already delivered results. They should have a proven track record of success and be able to build up a strong rapport with the people they are working with. Participants should quickly feel that investing time in the programme is likely to be of benefit to them.

A flexible approach

Everyone is different when it comes to how they see the world and how they learn. Taking on board new concepts, developing new skills and growing professionally and personally rarely happens in a linear or uniform way. The best leadership development programmes will reflect this diversity and have a flexible approach when it comes to delivery.

Clear goals

Everyone who is on the leadership development programme should have a set of both short and long-term goals. These will usually be agreed upon in discussion with a mentor. There should be a clear means by which progress is monitored and assessed, and support given in particular areas where people are struggling. Participants should feel that they are being supported to make progress towards their objectives.

Interesting material and engaging delivery

A successful programme should also be engaging and interesting. It should be something that employees look forward to participating in, which challenges them to grow while sparking their interest and encouraging engagement. This means that the material needs to be geared towards the specific needs of learners. It should provide them with a tangible means through which to develop their skills as they move towards achieving their individual goals. It’s not only the material itself, which is important, it’s also how that material is delivered. Tutoring and coaching should be engaging, stimulating and inspiring.

Ongoing support

When participants have completed the leadership development programme they should receive ongoing support. There should be extra guidance, and regular meetings with tutors or coaches to assess their progress and help with overcoming any ongoing challenges. This not only helps individuals to continue their professional development but also helps aid staff retention. Through training and support, accomplished leaders are able to identify and support the next generation of leaders. All of the above doesn’t guarantee the success of everyone who participates in the leadership development programme but they do provide a comprehensive framework within which people are able to achieve their goals.

Is a leadership development program worth it?

Leadership development programmes are an integral part of successful organisations, providing considerable returns on the investment. They help people work more effectively and productively while increasing employee engagement and reducing staff turnover. It deepens the pool of management skills and competencies within the organisation and motivates employees to implement new strategies to help the business grow.

Leadership development programmes also help to create a better working environment, where people are trusted to carry out their jobs. Empowered leaders create a better corporate culture, improving morale and transforming how people work collaboratively. It helps to create effective teams and makes for more informed decision-making. Having a workforce that is empowered and engaged can make it easier to manage periods of change.

Bespoke leadership development coaching from Leadership Success

At Leadership Success, we provide coach guided leadership development programmes for individuals, teams and organisations. By investing in just 45 minutes a week you can start seeing real results.

With our focused learning programmes guided by an expert coach, we are with you every step of the way.

We are motivated to inspire, motivate and equip the next generation of leaders to achieve their goals and to help organisations develop leadership programmes that are tailored to their specific needs.

Our coaches are experts across a wide range of leadership-related areas, from conflict resolution and mediation, and managing underperformance to executive coaching and leadership assessment.

Take a look at our services and speak to an expert to find out how bespoke leadership coaching from Leadership Success can help you and your organisation succeed.

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