What do great leadership training programs have in common?


In theory, what a leader does is simple: guide their organization, department or team to success. In practice, it is much more complicated than that.

“Leadership” is not a single quality but rather a compilation of them. Traits like empathy, honesty, intelligence, responsibility, and integrity elicit the respect and admiration of others. Together, they produce a personality that others want to follow.

The problem is, 47% of new leaders do not receive any management training. While they can be great leaders one day, they need a little help getting there. To train a new generation of leaders, create a leadership training program with these key elements:

1. Inspirational speakers

A college professor once told me that the best thing he could do for his students was to inspire them. All the presentations and all the textbooks in the world won’t make a difference if someone isn’t pushed to learn.

Although it’s often described as one hit, a lasting inspiration takes time to develop. A passionate speaker encourages the listener to dig a little deeper, which leads them to tune in a little more on the next session.

See how the corporate leadership training programs are structured. Professional services firm PwC’s LeadersLab program is a series of four progressive workshops over a nine-month period. “The exposure to experienced and remarkable leaders, who shared their ideas and stories, has been invaluable to me in continuing to develop my own leadership style,” said Christina Spade, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of ViacomCBS, about the program.

Invite experts from diverse backgrounds to speak with your team. Think broad: Could someone who runs a literary magazine draw the attention of future leaders to the importance of written communication? Ask them to share how they achieved the things they did and allow plenty of time for questions.

2. Peer-to-peer workshops

Great leaders already exist within your company. While external leaders can be more exciting for some employees, internal leaders can give workers a more tangible insight into what the leadership journey looks like for your organization.

International consulting firm McKinsey & Company points out that less than half of organizations worldwide have peer-to-peer learning initiatives, while a third have no system for sharing lessons among peers.

A peer workshop system doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many professional development workshops once a month on topics such as cultivating empathy, delegating effectively and vision-boarding. Have a member of your team who is considered by team members to be an expert in the field to lead each session.

At the same time, set up a mentoring program. Make sure that employees who wish to pursue any of these areas of leadership have the continued support of the expert. If more workers are interested than a leader’s schedule can accommodate, use a lottery system to select mentees.

3. An emphasis on diversity

On internal flyers, in guest speeches, and throughout internal workshops, make sure your commitment to diversity is loud and clear. Reports must be able to relate to their leaders, and leaders must appreciate the business value of various experiences.

Data from Glassdoor shows that two-thirds of job seekers consider diversity in the workplace to be an important factor when considering employment opportunities. Candidates and existing employees look to team leaders when judging whether the company is welcoming people like them. Only people who feel included will want to achieve leadership roles.

Consider how inclusiveness can add value to these peer groups of employees. The digital transformation service Publicis Sapient has set up groups like VivaWomen !, a group for women in the workplace; Alliance of colored men; and VivaMama !, a group for new and experienced mothers.

When properly brought together, peer groups inspire and show the way ahead. “Our mission is to support women in their career path, whether it is to achieve equal representation at all levels, or to enable them to develop a career strategy within the Group, by moving from one area of ​​the business to another as our industry transforms, ”says Nancy Rowe, UK leader of VivaWomen !.

While leadership training does not immediately bring new revenue, companies that invest in it outperform their peers by 1,500%. Leadership may not be easy, but the choice to invest in it certainly is.

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