How to Implement Effective Leadership Development in your Business

“Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.” (John F. Kennedy)

The world of work is changing, rapidly. With more teams made up of diverse people from a wide variety of locations, leadership these days has become less about personal relationships and more about managing across distance and effective organisation. Leaders in this world need skills they had never considered previously, and companies need to train them.

Despite companies spending hundreds of billions of rands in leadership training globally, 63% of millennials feel their leadership were letting them down and only 27% of leaders believe they are equipped to lead hybrid teams.

Here’s what you should be thinking about when implementing leadership development in your organisation.

1. Analysis and Assessment

In order to build leadership capacity for the future, the first thing you should do is look at your organisation’s unique values, challenges, and priorities. Are you looking to increase profits, cut costs, improve employee retention or mitigate risks? Remember, your analysis needs to focus not only on what’s happening now, but on the coming changes in your industry and your goals for where you want to be in the future.

Doing this will then allow you to take a closer look at the skills of your leaders as they currently stand and determine which leadership skills are most lacking.

2. Research

The next step is choosing which leadership training organisations to partner with. There is currently no shortage of leadership development resources, speakers and organisations that offer training. The resources you work with should be vetted, relevant, and applicable to learning goals you established in the analysis phase.

In order to ensure you are getting the best possible course you should evaluate the course material and format and research the course instructors. Who is offering this course? Do they have the requisite experience?

When it comes to making a difference, instructors with a strong educational foundation and relevant qualifications will always trump the charismatic author with multiple tattoos and a matric. As your accountants, we are able to help you build a training budget, which can help prioritise training and ensure you get the most impact from your spend.

3. Involve your seniors

You and your senior leaders understand leadership in the context of the company better than most and as such should play a mentorship role in the development of future leaders. Training engagement has been shown to increase dramatically for attendees when it is their leader who is among the teachers, so don’t be afraid to engage your team as an active part of the process.

This will also help you too. By taking part you will also be aware of the course content and can more easily spot teachable moments during the day-to-day running of the company, reinforce the lessons in their mentorship sessions and better spot those who are implementing the lessons in their own personal development.

4. Inform your employees

Building future leaders is about spotting talent, then using the training to position that talent for future company development. It is no good simply offering training without also informing those who are to attend of the reasons for why the training is happening.

Attendees need to understand the future company goals and recognise the skills they will need to perfect if they want to be part of the future leadership of the company. This way you’ll give them the motivation to engage with it as thoroughly as possible. Nothing inspires people quite like seeing the personal benefits.

5. Implement the training

Training should be simple. Whether you choose to do it all in one go, or over time fitted into a general working life, the courses need to be manageable in terms of time and effort. This means you are going to need to consider each individual attendee as well as your company’s operational needs. The easier you make it for everyone to be involved, at the lowest loss to the company, the more the return on investment will be.

6. Feedback, evaluation and impact

Training has no benefit if the lessons of that training are not implemented. It’s important to schedule feedback sessions with attendees to repeatedly follow up on the lessons in the training. Depending on your goals you may even be able to build the training impact into the attendees’ KPIs.

Some training sessions and companies will even incorporate evaluation and feedback into their sessions so you as a leader can analyse who is performing well in the course and who needs added focus. All of this will help you to adjust future training content and goals and ultimately ensure you get the most long-term impact and leadership growth.

Disclaimer: The information provided herein should not be used or relied on as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your professional adviser for specific and detailed advice.

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