Leadership development is evolving. Leadership was once considered to be an expertise in and of itself, but now, running an organization at any level requires a mix of skills. For this reason, it is vital for businesses to approach leadership development by using the most effective L&D tools.
What is leadership development?
Leadership development is the method by which supervisors, managers, and executives establish and improve the skills, knowledge, and talents that they require to lead people.
Leadership development covers both soft skills and hard skills. A leader must understand how to effectively manage employees on a human level. At the same time, they need the ability to deal with operational factors like production quality, budgets, and schedules.
It might be said that leadership development is a subset of employee development activities. This is because leaders often have functions as employees in addition to being in charge of other employees. For example, a CFO must understand both a financial statement and be able to direct the analysts in the department about how to prepare a statement. Therefore, leaders often require development in operational areas as well as for specific leadership tasks.
Why is leadership development important?
Leadership development enables companies to gain a competitive advantage, particularly in an industry where L&D programs for managers are ineffective. A company is only as good as its employees, and skilled management is integral to ensuring that workers apply their talents in the most effective ways. Leadership development can provide optimal employee management, procedural continuity, and wise decisions that lead to various benefits for the entire organization.
Businesses exist to turn a profit, so there can be hesitation when it comes to implementing leadership development programs. Developing leaders takes time away from their daily tasks, while the programs themselves can be costly.
However, the evidence shows that leadership development does a great job at paying for itself. A good leader should already have the talent to drive the work of their department forward, and skill development only makes them more capable. For example, this study illustrates that leadership development resulted in an ROI of 415% on an annual basis.
Higher satisfaction and retention
Employee engagement is crucial for any organization that wants to reduce turnover and retain skilled employees. This is even more so for leaders, who want to appear competent in front of the people whom they are leading. To enable the skills that lead to managerial proficiency, leaders should receive the training that they need to optimize their own performance. In addition, like any worker, receiving proper development is essential to morale and a feeling that the company is supporting the leader’s career progress.
Upon retirement or promotion, it is vital for former leaders to be replaced by new leaders as seamlessly as possible. However, many organizations greatly depend on built-up knowledge that is specific to a particular company. This includes specialized fields of knowhow such as the comprehension of trade secrets, maintenance of professional contacts, and understanding of how the organization functions. Leadership development allows for succession planning in the transfer of these skills to the next generation.
This sounds obvious, but in reality, many of those gaining leadership positions are unprepared for their new role. Recent graduates and managers promoted to a higher level in the company may have turned out an excellent performance to obtain a leadership position, but this in no way guarantees that they can handle their current responsibilities. Leadership development is essential for getting such people ‘up to speed’.
Effective leadership development has a two-fold effect on the proper formation and implementation of strategy. First, it tends to nurture problem-solving skills that every leader needs when challenges arise. According to this study, 86% of companies with strategic leadership development programs can quickly deal with a changing business environment, compared to only 52% of companies where quality leadership development is lacking.
Secondly, particularly in the case of mentoring, leadership development should give managers insight into a company’s secrets to success, the challenges they are going to face, and insight into dealing with the future.
Leadership development with GrowthSpace
Despite the importance of leadership development, studies suggest that many organizations are either not implementing relevant programs, or do not have an effective approach.
This is one of the reasons why GrowthSpace was created: to solve the issue of inadequate methods for leadership development. The root cause of many failed leadership development initiatives is that they do not adequately identify the learning needs of specific individuals, and so cannot supply the correct development approach.
GrowthSpace resolves this with a technology that can recognize the granular development needs of leaders, from production line supervisors to senior executives. GrowthSpace’s proprietary technology breaks down leadership L&D requirements into elements. It then sources highly-regarded experts to provide coaching, mentoring, and training in those areas. Finally, GrowthSpace provides a simple evaluation method to assess the success of the expert and the L&D program’s effectiveness.
GrowthSpace’s L&D platform is changing the world of employee learning and development with a scalable, technology-based approach unlike any other. If you want to finally see what employee L&D programs can really do for your organization, contact us.