leadership, Skills & Growth | Article

5 Tips for Leadership Training (& Why it Matters)

“The moment you stop learning, you stop leading.” Training and development are vital – no matter what level of leadership you are at!

Why Leadership Training Matters

Leaders who are properly trained and developed have the power to fuel outstanding organizational performance. According to Gallup:

  • Employees who trust leadership are 4x as likely to be engaged.
  • Employees who agree leadership communicates effectively are 73% less likely to be burned out.
  • 69% of employees whose leaders make them “feel enthusiastic about the future” are engaged. Only 1% who disagreed with that statement are engaged.

Training new employees is a standard practice. Training an employee who just got promoted to a leadership position is less common. There is value in training new managers, middle managers, and senior executives alike. It’s crucial for all levels of leadership and can determine the trajectory of your company!

Tips for Creating Effective Leadership Training

1. Check Your Culture

Does your organization value and emphasize learning? Likely at the employee level, but what about at manager and executive levels? Leaders won’t buy in to the idea of training if they don’t believe they need it.

Develop a culture of continuous learning and development that extends beyond titles. One way to do this is by encouraging knowledge sharing. Peers and leaders should be seen as resources rather than competition. Additionally, recognize employees and leaders developing new skills on a public Moments Feed. Visibility into learning will inspire others to follow suit.

2. Pinpoint Objectives

There is a plethora of different reasons you may be exploring leadership training. Because of this, it’s not one size fits all. Firstly, it’s important to determine your audience. Are you training rising leaders, middle managers, senior executives, or another group? Secondly, determine what your goals are. Some different things to consider are:

  • Filling leadership gaps. Look for where current gaps in leadership exist, as well as gaps that may soon pop up. It’s especially important to keep an eye on when senior leaders may retire. Succession planning for those positions requires more time and effort. Beyond that, look for leadership positions linked to trouble recruiting or retaining.
  • Furthering strategic objectives. Consider your organization or team’s short- and long-term objectives. Then build leadership training based on what you are trying to accomplish. Let’s say your goal is to expand to a new market. You may then decide to focus on training the right leaders on topics specific to that market.
  • Honing traits and skills. Think about the leadership skills and traits that your organization values. If you aren’t sure, think about the traits your best leaders possess. You can then train other leaders to hone the behaviors, traits, and skills that reflect company values and goals.
3. Find a Mix of Methods

Tailor your leadership training to your organization’s unique culture and needs. Utilize a diverse blend to cater to different learning styles. The methods you choose may also be dependent on the position you are training for. A few common styles are:

  • One-on-one learning. Pair leaders who are new to their role with senior executives. It’s an effective way to transfer knowledge and help them learn quickly. A study by Tuck School of Business noticed many star managers emphasize the importance of continuous one-on-one tutoring.
  • Group learning. Training in a group can involve both internal and external activities. It can help new leaders understand group dynamics and connect with the existing leadership team. Plus, it gives you the opportunity to identify leaders with the potential to grow to even higher positions.
  • Self-directed learning. This style allows individuals to take responsibility for their own learning. They can decide what they want to learn, identify goals, and determine a process. Leaders can’t grow in isolation; however, self-directed learning can be an empowering piece of training that develops strategic thinking.
4. Use Experiences

Push your leaders to grow with real-life situations during training. Practicing what they have learned is the best way to make it stick as they see how specific knowledge can be put to use. You are also more likely to create “a-ha” moments with this style of training. One example of experiential training is placing a leader in charge of a big project. Shadowing executives is another strategy for higher levels of management as well.

5. Define Success

Of course, you can’t know if you have a successful leadership training program until you define what success looks like. Think about how you will measure impact prior to launching. Success metrics may include:

  • The number of participants who successfully complete the program
  • The number of participants who are promoted
  • What others say about each participant’s leadership (could be gathered in surveys)
  • Whether the leadership skills taught helped employees become more effective

Ultimately, leadership training can be the turbo-charged engine that fuels your organization’s success. It can improve not only a leader’s individual performance, but also the performance of each employee they lead. Successful leadership is a combination of natural talent and intentional development. So, invest in leadership training to help your people thrive!