The success of any company is underpinned by the capabilities of its leaders. How they perform in the workplace and develop their skills, competencies and vision has a direct impact on the overall performance of their organisation. Companies that invest in their leaders are more likely to see better results overall.
One way in which organisations can invest in their leaders is through leadership development. This is a structured process through which the capacity of individuals to perform in leadership roles is extended and developed.
Here we’ll take a look at leadership development, what it is, and why it’s important.
What is meant by leadership development
Leadership development is the process through which an individual’s ability to perform in a leadership role within an organisation is fostered, enhanced, and developed. It will usually consist of a program of learning activities aimed at improving the skill sets, confidence, and abilities of current leaders within the organisation while equipping the next generation to step up into leadership roles when the time is right.
Leadership development looks to foster the key set of skills that leaders need to operate effectively in their roles. These include:
- Decision making
- Project management
- Team management
- Network building
- Coaching and developing others
Taken together, this makes a comprehensive approach to developing leaders. Indeed, many of these core skills overlap each other.
Why is leadership an important skill?
The importance of leadership development in the workplace cannot be overstated. Effective leaders instil confidence in their teams. Good leaders create a better atmosphere in the workplace, making co-workers feel safe, valued, and understood. In turn, teams become more efficient, goal-focused, and happier in their roles.
Leaders are crucial to the success of the organisation. They inspire their teams and motivate them to perform to a higher level, embodying company values and culture.
There is a strong correlation between the overall quality of a company’s leadership and employee morale. This is particularly important during periods of organisational change. Leaders who are able to set a clear vision, keep their team members informed, show they care and are open and honest make teams become more effective while promoting staff retention. Effective leaders help to create organisations that people want to work for.
Effective leaders are trusted leaders. When there are high levels of trust between leaders and their teams, it helps to improve employee engagement. Employees who are led by highly engaged leadership teams are more likely to be engaged themselves.
Effective leaders inspire people to feel confident in their abilities overall. A more confident workforce is more productive, and better able to face challenges, find new solutions and take responsibility for their own development. Confident leaders inspire that same belief throughout their organisation.
Times of change can be some of the most stressful and challenging for any organisation. Even if the benefits of changes are well understood, the process can create all kinds of negative feelings with staff members becoming demotivated. Effective leadership helps to steer employees smoothly through the process, winning over hearts and minds.
Effective leadership helps to foster, build, and strengthen trusting relationships. This helps to create a culture of openness throughout the entire organisation. Connected organisations with high levels of trust are more effective, happier, and ultimately customer-focused. High levels of internal trust enable organisations to look outwards to their customers.
Foster a positive organisational culture
Leaders are the key influence on organisational culture. They create and build the feeling of what it’s like to work in a particular organisation, setting the tone for their teams. Effective leaders create a positive leadership culture within which employees can thrive, achieve their goals, and help the company to prosper.
Why developing leaders is important for your organisation
Companies that invest in their employees achieve better results than those that don’t. This particularly applies to the leadership team. Leadership development gives people the attributes that they need to become effective leaders. Communication skills, motivation and inspiration lead to better decision-making skills and accountability.
Leadership development helps leaders to develop key skills, competencies, and advanced abilities all of which can then deliver a range of benefits to their organisation.
Improved financial performance
Leadership development helps to create a more engaged, productive, and informed workforce. In turn, this helps the company develop systems for sustained improvement. All of these factors help to create the conditions that lead to better overall financial performance for the company.
Attract and retain talent
Companies that invest in their leadership team are better able to attract and retain talent. Developing a company’s leaders, helping them strengthen their leadership skills, fostering their creativity, increasing their overall skill set, encouraging engagement and productivity, creates a happier workforce.
Greater employee satisfaction not only encourages people to stay within the organisation but also makes the organisation more attractive to other would-be employees. Established leadership development programmes can also be attractive to talented professionals who are looking for new employment.
Leadership development fosters improved emotional intelligence in the leadership team. This enables leaders to cope with difficult and challenging emotional situations, making them more humane and effective. It helps remove the tendency to react negatively which can create a working environment where people are fearful and afraid to take risks.
A workplace built on strong relationships is one where people are able to express their opinions, ask questions and make suggestions that can ultimately lead to a more productive and competitive company. Good relationships make it easier to get tasks done.
Developing leadership skills helps to improve communication in the team overall. Good communications are at the heart of successful teams. Leadership development helps to improve the communications skills, methods, and techniques of leaders.
Leaders with advanced communications skills are able to find out what their teams think about particular tasks, challenges, and goals. It helps to create a supportive environment, where negotiation and discussion are embedded into working life.
Reduce the risk of burnout
Leadership teams are under constant pressure to deliver results and if this pressure isn’t managed correctly, it can lead to burnout. This can ultimately lead to employees leaving the organisation. Leadership development gives leaders the skills they need to handle the multiple pressures and competing demands of their role. They are able to oversee people, make strategic decisions and manage business processes simultaneously without undue stress or pressure.
Better customer retention
The leadership team’s ability to properly motivate, mentor and inspire has a significant impact on the service that’s delivered to customers. Effective leaders show their teams by example how to communicate, respond and act with customers. When this is done well it supports and encourages customer loyalty.
Leaders and their teams are better able to tackle difficult situations, defuse problems and put in place effective plans to improve the customer experience. This all helps to increase customer retention and can make a big impact on profitability.
Change is part of business life. Companies that don’t adapt, evolve, and innovate ultimately begin to stagnate and get left behind. A company that isn’t responding effectively to change is always at risk of going under. Former household names going into liquidation have become all too common in an era of rapid technological change and innovation. The companies that survive and prosper have flexibility built into their DNA.
Leadership development helps leaders develop a flexible and agile approach to change. They are able to understand the challenges they face, develop strategies to meet those challenges and get ahead of the curve when it comes to innovation.
Bespoke leadership development from Leadership Success
At Leadership Success, we provide, fast, effective and easy leadership development training for leaders across all kinds of organisations.
Our expert leadership coaches help individuals and companies achieve their goals with training and development that fits their own needs and schedule
Contact us today to find out more about our bespoke leadership development training.