A leadership development program allows you to nurture the talent already within your company. This, in turn, saves your company the hassle of finding suitable candidates for high-level positions, as you can fill them from within. After all, it is usually significantly easier to fill a low-level position than a high-level one. A leadership development program can also serve as an incentive to attract and retain top talent.
The following tips will help you create an effective leadership development program.
Why You Should Design an Effective Leadership Development Program
To begin, why should you take the time to develop an effective leadership development program? One of the most significant advantages is the ability to motivate employees and drive engagement. One study from the Center for Creative Leadership found that 65 percent of leadership development programs’ businesses experienced improved business results. By contrast, only 6 percent of those without these programs drove enhanced results.
Additionally, of companies with formal leadership development programs, 86 percent responded quickly to changes in market conditions. This contrasts with companies with immature or undeveloped programs, with only 52 percent responding rapidly.
On top of this, studies show that millennials search for job opportunities that include the potential for growth and becoming leaders. As such, by offering these leadership development programs, you make it easier to attract the best talent to your company.
Elements of an Effective Leadership Development Program
The most effective leadership development programs will be well-rounded. They should include independent study, collaborative learning, mentoring and coaching, and professional training.
Examples of collaborative learning opportunities include debating challenging issues and attending lectures with learning partners so everyone can discuss them later. Mentoring aims to build relationships via dialogue related to professional development, while coaching focuses on specific improvements to performance.
Effective Leadership Development Programs Offer Unique Resources for Various Leadership Levels
As you create your leadership development program, remember to offer resources and tools to allow employees of all levels to improve their skills and gain leadership opportunities.
Emerging leaders are still new to gaining leadership skills. A leadership program will include group coaching, mentoring, opportunities to lead key functional projects, and self-assessment.
Once someone is confident in their basic leadership skills, it is time to develop their skills for middle management. This will typically include supervisory, directorial-level, and managerial-level leaders. Their development should consist of exposure to higher-level leaders, active learning, professional involvement, opportunities to be a mentor or coach, volunteer leadership or a role on the board, and leadership positions on some of the organization’s major initiatives.
Preparing employees for senior leadership roles is the most complicated. It includes individual coaching, coaching from the executive team, executive education programs, and complete 360-degree assessments.