5 Ways You’re Going Wrong with Leadership Training

leadership training

Retention of top talent is a common marker of high performing companies. However, an influx of new generations has arrived in the workforce. With them, they’ve brought different career priorities, employee engagement metrics, and training expectations. So, it’s become trickier than ever to hold onto the top talent that organizations work so hard to attract.

Millennials and Gen Z are highly focused on career progression and they often expect it at a faster rate than previous generations. Leadership training and progression planning is an essential component for holding onto rising stars in your organization. But there is a right way and a wrong way to go about researching, designing, and deploying leadership training programs.

Working closely with business partners in your organization is essential to crafting effective leadership training. Check out this free ebook to learn how to leverage training intake processes to deliver learning experiences that hit all the right notes:
Training Intake to the Rescue! How to Make L&D the Superheroes of Your Organization

What is Leadership Training?

Leadership training is the provision of specific learning pathways designed to identify, nurture, and develop skills and attributes of leadership. It is generally designed and provided for:

  • Employees who display ambition and talent for future roles in leadership
  • Managers and leaders at all levels in the organization to improve performance and support growth into more senior positions

Leadership training takes many forms. While many organizations provide formal training (either in-person or online) there is also an emphasis on mentorship,coaching, and on-the-job learning. 

5 Common Leadership Training Mistakes

Leadership development and training is a focus for many organizations seeking to retain and upskill talented individuals. But there are a few common mistakes that result in disengaged learners and less than optimal results.

1. Identifying potential leaders correctly

Leadership training shouldn’t be rolled out to everyone. There are a few reasons for this.

Firstly, not everyone wants leadership training. Many employees are far more satisfied and fulfilled with non-leadership roles. They may feel that upskilling in other areas is more beneficial to their career and their personal goals. Plus, we all know there’s no quicker way to disengage your learners than by forcing them through training that they feel is irrelevant.

Secondly, not everyone is cut out for leadership. A whopping 57% of employees cite poor management as the reason for leaving a previous role. So it’s critical to identify individuals who are truly suited for leadership to enroll in your training program. When it comes to succession planning 

It’s essential to work closely with department leaders and line managers to identify those who are both willing and able to step up as leaders, either now or in the future. 

2. Not considering context 

Taking a one-size-fits-all approach to leadership training can have disastrous consequences on your results and your budget. Leadership development must be taken in context, and there are several contexts to consider.

Firstly, what level of leadership is an individual currently aspiring to? Have they been in a team lead or management position before? What size of team do they manage at the moment or are they likely to manage in the future?

Secondly, leadership qualities and skills differ between organizations and even between individual teams or departments within a company. Managing a dispersed field team is very different to managing in-house desk-workers, for example. While there are some themes of leadership that apply to all scenarios, failing to take the context of leadership into account makes for less effective training.

Learners should be able to apply their training. So, while the theoretical side of management provides a foundation, creating real-life scenario training, role playing, and on-the-job learning opportunities ensures your future (and current) leaders can apply theory and practice for optimal performance.

eLearning project management

3. One-and-done leadership training

Very few skills can be learned and perfectly applied in one sitting and leadership training, in particular, requires ongoing support and progressive learning paths to be effective. Too often, leadership training is provided as a one-off or annual session without providing the tools and support for learners to further develop and apply the material. 

Going back to context, it’s also ineffective to provide leadership training at the start of a management career, only to leave leaders to fend for themselves as they encounter more complex scenarios and move into more senior roles. Different skills are needed at different levels of management and learning paths should be designed accordingly.

4. Generic leadership training

The context of leadership training also refers to what’s going on at an industry and/or organizational level. Not only does this breed better results, but learners will be more engaged knowing the training will help them succeed in the organization and provide a clearer path towards career progression.

When designing your leadership training program, make sure it is geared towards the goals, values, mission, and culture of your organization. Your learners (and your retention levels) will thank you for it.

It comes down to setting learners up for success and aligning all training with organizational performance. Aligning leadership training with corporate culture and objectives ensures specific skills and knowledge are imparted to build future leaders and better management for all.

5. Not quantifying or measuring results

Like all training, the benefits and performance of leadership development programs must be quantified and measured. Not only will this ensure that your budget is being wisely spent, but your achievements can be reported in concrete ways to show how it benefits your learners and the organization. 

While metrics will vary from one organization to another, a good place to start is with retention rates and the rates of career progression within the company. 

Whether your leadership development program is in its infancy or a well-established learning path, now is always a good time to revisit your existing assets and resources, your plans, and your performance metrics. 

The future may be uncertain, but your L&D strategy doesn’t have to be. Check out this on-demand webinar to hear L&D experts discuss the future of L&D and how you can prepare for it.
The New L&D Gameplan: How to Safeguard Against Uncertainty in Uncertain Times

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