Leadership training programs can be a great investment, or they can be a colossal waste of time.
Why invest in leadership training programs that don’t produce ROI?
Poorly designed or executed leadership training programs may be largely ineffective in enabling the new, improved habits that leaders and emerging leaders should have. Participants in such programs need to learn new skills, learn why they need those skills, and practice those skills so that they eventually become ingrained. The following key components should be included in any leadership training program in which you choose to invest, so you’ll get the maximum return on your investment.
Training on Building your “Bench”
Leadership for today is important, of course, but equally important is leadership for tomorrow. Every organization must find and encourage the next generation of leaders so that it’s easier to anticipate and fill succession gaps. Identifying high-potential individuals and helping them align their individual work goals with organizational goals are two critical tasks for building a strong bench.
Learning about Goal-Setting
Goal-setting may seem so obvious as to not need teaching, but that’s not the case. It’s about determining what you want to achieve, and then committing to the process of achieving it. Simple, but hardly ever easy. Successful goal-setting requires identifying actionable objectives that naturally lead to the accomplishment of the goal, and few people are adept at doing that.
Improving Soft Skills
However brilliant or strong a leader is, they won’t realize their full potential (and hence, neither will the organization) if everyone hates them. Soft skills may seem “extra,” but they’re actually fundamental. Learning how to use common courtesy and how to be reasonably approachable while setting appropriate boundaries is both an art and a science.
Time Management Training
Few skills are as beneficial to the professional (at any level of the corporate ladder) as excellent time management. Leaders who manage their time well set a great example, they waste less time on trivial concerns, and they’re far less likely to end up with overwhelming stress or burnout. No single time management technique is “best,” but each individual must learn what works for them.
Time management training can benefit every professional at every corporate level.
Learning to Delegate Effectively
It’s amazing how many leaders fail at the task of effective delegation. Good delegation requires mutual trust, recognition, and follow-through. “Delegating” a task and then effectively doing it over crushes morale and makes the next instance of delegating that much less effective. Leaders who know how to delegate and how to give credit where it’s due are leaders who are respected and liked.
The Art of Giving and Receiving Feedback
Giving and receiving feedback may be considered a soft skill, but it is perhaps the most essential soft skill a strong leader needs. Offering constructive, yet honest feedback is a skill that requires practice, and learning how to accept feedback in the spirit in which it is given is equally as important. Good, back-and-forth feedback is a major building block of trust, and without trust, leadership doesn’t work.
Follow-Up and / or Coaching
Finally, learning decay is real. Coaching and / or follow-up after a leadership training program is essential to ensuring that new skills are practiced and improved. I offer a 2 ½-day immersive leadership retreat that not only works on all the essential elements of strong leadership but also includes post-retreat follow-up and feedback. Skills don’t matter much if they’re never used.
Leadership training programs can be a feel-good exercise that doesn’t accomplish much, or they can be life- and career-changing programs that produce a strong ROI. I have developed my leadership training programs, including the immersive retreat so that they address real concerns and leadership gaps that hold individuals and organizations back. And I am a true believer in the power of coaching and follow-up, as my executive coaching clients can tell you.
Investing in leadership training programs can move organizations forward if they’re chosen well and address real needs. Whether or not leadership training programs are in your organization’s future, I encourage you to check out my books, which go into detail on every leadership-related topic and help organizations like yours develop the leadership and culture that makes the future far brighter and more promising.