Most leadership development programs focus on grooming people for roles in the C-Suite or with EVP and SVP titles. There is no denying the importance of this process. With the right approach, it’s also possible to develop leaders among all your employees. Leadership skills are necessary in many different roles.
Traditional Leadership Development Programs
There are some common steps to take to create a leadership development program. The idea is to develop a pool of future leaders to help your company evolve and grow. Here are a few elements of a leadership training program you might expect:
Identify HiPos. Assess and evaluate employees to identify the people with high potential. Look for attributes like a high level of engagement, intelligence, and aspiration to lead along with critical and strategic thinking.
Communicate Vision. Start with a clear explanation of the strategic vision and plan for the business. Also include your vision for the future career of the HiPo so they can visualize their future role.
Determine Competencies. Identify the key leadership competencies required to lead the organization, teams, and their self. This might include topics like assertiveness, conflict management, emotional intelligence, and courage. Also consider including a competency based on living and demonstrating company mission, vision, and values.
Offer Training. Align the training topics to the competencies. We suggest a combination of self-directed microlearning along with instructor-led professional development.
Mentor and Coach. Pair the HiPos with a leader with strengths in the leadership competencies. This may also include job rotation and job shadowing with support from the mentor or coach.
Why Develop Leadership Skills Beyond HiPos?
There are many aspects of work that require employees to demonstrate leadership skills. Revisiting the competencies mentioned above, these are leadership training topics that many employees need. Employees need to be leaders of meetings, projects, and teams. Here are a few examples I have observed at ej4 and stories from my leadership team on how to develop leaders at any level.
- A mid-level marketing manager and an A-player employee at managing projects had promotion potential but she rarely spoke in meetings. She was not destined to be the CMO but she was a seasoned employee the younger team members looked up to. She needed training on assertive communication skills, managerial courage and public speaking skills.
- An IT developer with a very high IQ and superior coding skills was promoted to lead a team. He was extremely logical in his approach but lacked empathy and the ability to read social cues in meetings. He was not destined to be the CTO but he benefited from leadership training on how to motivate employees, mentoring, and social awareness.
- An entry-level employee was tasked with running the ej4 charitable giving event. She was a confident millennial but new to the business world. Her role was to coordinate the teams led by a member of senior management, manage the collection of the donated items and funds, and insure a timely delivery to the charity. She was not on track to be the CMO but she benefited from training on time management and effective delegation.
How to Offer Leadership Training to All Employees?
Working with a company like ej4, you can access a full library of business skills training that includes all the topics mentioned. Leveraging a learning management system like Thinkzoom, our LMS, gives all employees easy access to the training anytime, anyplace. Thinkzoom was built mobile-first, learner-first and is easy and intuitive to use.
Most of our clients open the full library of training videos to their learners for self-directed learning. This applies to all topics, not just leadership training. One client found that learners engaged with the ej4 content four times the rate with other content. You can read more about that in our case study on higher utilization.
If you would like to explore any of the topics mentioned, sign up for a free trial of Thinkzoom and watch any course in our Business Skills and Workplace Compliance Libraries.
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