Leadership Development – Is it Time to Make this a Priority?

August 10, 2022by Jennifer Murray0

The tight labor market has paved the way for strong individual contributors to move up the career ladder. Initially, promoted team members are enthusiastic about the career step, new title, and affirmation that they deserve more responsibility. Internal promotions can also improve employee morale across the organization by showcasing career paths and growth opportunities.

What if the new positions come with team leadership responsibilities? Is there a support system and development track for the new leaders or are they expected to figure it out independently? Some organizations thrive by hiring people that demonstrated the ability to take initiative and persevered to meet the job requirements. These organizations move so quickly that each team member can sink or swim. If leaders can step back, analyze the needs of their leadership team, and create a supportive environment, they are more likely to see a measurable business impact.

History has shown us that poor management is one of leading causes of employee turnover. It seems too simple to change the narrative by creating a program to develop and coach leaders as they accept leadership roles. People quickly recall the bad experiences they had with previous managers. They may not know what they should do as a leader, but they will tell you what they would not do in a leadership role. Programs with impact are aligned with the foundation of your organization and the needs of your team members. Here are some of the major steps for program development.

During the initial research stage, start with your vision, goals, and culture. Then determine what competencies or skills and abilities your leaders need to align with your vision, achieve your goals, and enhance your culture. Assess which competencies each leader currently displays. Organizations may use assessments that take inventory of the skills each leader possesses, as well as the skills they should have to help them reach current and future goals. Alternatively, they could use 360-degree feedback to identify strengths and weaknesses of their leaders from multiple vantage points. Observing newly promoted leaders and recognizing that they may not be prepared for the challenges of their new roles is an opportunity to create a pathway for success – before the behaviors prompt turnover. Also consider market trends and external forces that may require your leaders to expand their skills. Talk with your leadership team to gather additional perspectives. What have they observed? Including multiple perspectives will increase the likelihood of success. Regardless of which methods you use to uncover development needs, the gap analysis should guide you toward the focal points of the program.

Next, using the gap analysis and team input to define the learning objectives, you can design the program. In-house resources or partners can help you develop a program that achieves the desired results. Your leadership development program is likely to be more than a single class. Programs often consist of a series of learning modules, job aids, assessments, and reinforcements to address different learning styles and provide ongoing opportunities to practice the key skills.

How will you define a successful program? You collected survey and/or skill gap data on the front end, which provides initial metrics. Establishing success criteria will help to create buy-in for ongoing training and development events, while ensuring that the program investment yields the desired results.

Once you develop the program, run a pilot. It lessens the risk and provides a framework for continuous improvement. The program contributors, delivery team, and participants should have an opportunity to provide feedback on all aspects of the program, including the approach, the content, the technology, and the trainer. The collected evaluation data will identify opportunities for improvement and reinforcement for future sessions.

The programs that follow should include evaluations, as well. Training programs are not static. As the business changes, new external forces impact the business, leaders change, different training needs will arise, and the program should continue to evolve. Arming your leaders with the knowledge and skills they need to confidently lead their teams will enhance the culture and help you meet your business objectives. It’s that simple!

 

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Satellite Office
2929 Breezewood Ave. Suite 101, Fayetteville, NC. 28303
Where to find us
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