What are leadership development programs?
Leadership development programs are programs designed for mid-to-senior level managers or leaders of managers. These programs help to build effective leaders who contribute to corporate level success in their organizations. Some of these leadership development programs focus on communication, self-awareness, resiliency, influence and systematic thinking.
How to create a program for leadership development
Here are several steps you can take to create an effective leadership development program:
1. Identify your company’s leadership needs
To identify your company’s leadership needs, you may begin by evaluating the current leadership in your organization. For example, you and your team may ask what current leadership needs your organization has. What characteristics and attributes do the current leaders in our organization possess that would be missed if they were to leave? What are the current gaps in leadership within our business?
Consider the answers to these questions and include them in the development of your program to align with the specific leadership needs your organization has. Tailoring your organization’s leadership needs to your leadership development program is more effective than a one-size-fits-all approach because not all businesses need or want the same things.
2. Assess your organization’s values and goals
Your leadership needs should align with your organization’s values and goals. Define what values your company has and determine what leadership skills match up with those values. For example, you might have growth, collaboration or commitment to customers as a value, and your goal may be to increase customer retention or increase revenue by targeting new markets. Growing your company may include different leadership skills than a commitment to customers, and it is helpful to know your focus before developing your leadership program. If you include these items in your program, then it is likely future leaders who take the program may be fully equipped to reach company goals and maintain company values.
This helps to entice potential candidates to take part in the program and inspires leadership, since assessing organizational goals and including them in the program provides your managers and other employees with a reason for leading.
3. Select potential candidates for leadership roles
Potential leaders may exist in various places throughout your company, and they aren’t always the highest performers in their current positions. A person who has not performed outstanding abilities in their current position may still have great leadership capabilities, while a person who is a top performer may not have what it takes to be the next business leader in your company.
A good way to determine leadership capabilities is to offer a Leadership Skills Assessment Test. This test allows your employees to discover their potential and helps you to determine and select individuals who may be effective leaders and good candidates for your leadership program.
4. Designate instructors with proven leadership skills
Effective instructors will have some leadership expertise to inspire participants to engage in the program. Many companies work with a third party company to hire an instructor for their leadership development programs. These companies offer specialized trainers that review assessment results to select candidates and help your participants get ready to lead using your program outlines to do so.
Hiring these specialists may allow you to reduce the impact on your resources and maintain your productivity.
5. Use various teaching methods
Your leadership development participants likely have different backgrounds and styles of learning. To help each participant learn and develop, it is essential to use different methods within your learning system.
A few common training methods you may use to accommodate the way your participants learn are to incorporate classroom instruction, e-learning, written materials, demonstrations, training videos and lectures into your program. Using these tools helps to inspire your participants and provides them with a program that is fun, exciting, growth-oriented and informational.
6. Create measurable benchmarks
A great way for you to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your leadership development program is to create measurable benchmarks. To do this, you may focus on how many participants completed the program successfully, feedback from the participants and how many participants get promoted after completing the program.
You may also conduct regular reviews and assessments to gauge participants’ growth and development. For example, you and your team may create a feedback report in the form of a survey that each participant must take. Over time, you can measure the results and continue to enhance the effectiveness of your leadership development program.
7. Focus on retention
You may use your new leadership and development program as a part of your long-term staffing strategy. Your focus should be to keep these talented employees who have the possibility of assuming important management positions in your business.
Some ways to impact employee retention are to offer more compensation as they develop their skills, introduce an employee rewards system or meet with them regularly to ensure their satisfaction with their career path.
Related: How to Reduce Employee Turnover
Frequently asked questions about programs for leadership development
Here are two frequently asked questions about programs for leadership development:
What are the benefits of creating programs for leadership development?
Some key benefits that leadership development programs offer your employees are the ability to:
- Master corporate leadership and its cross-functional challenges
- Implement strategic leadership plans for your company
- Inspire organizational change and lead high-performing teams
- Develop their own leadership philosophy and build greater confidence and responsibility
- Capitalize on future leadership opportunities
How long should leadership development programs last?
The amount of time your leadership program takes is up to you and your organizational needs. Some companies choose to conduct one long class, and others find it more effective to break up classes into sessions. For example, you may make your leadership program five 1-hour sessions over the course of a few weeks. This way, your employees learn the information slowly and retain more of the information they learned.