Leadership development program participation is a very high priority for HR departments. Companies rely on building leaders to boost productivity today, and ensure survival tomorrow. Choosing the right people for the program is fundamental to get the most value for your investment, and support for your organization in the long term.
The Need for Leadership Development Programs
An organization relies on its leaders to keep things organized. But having that ability often requires training. For this reason, companies provide leadership development programs so that their leaders’ skills are the best that they can be. Among the benefits of a leadership development program are competitive strength, effective people management abilities, and proper processes.
What Is a Leader?
There was a time when positional leadership ruled corporations, but that idea no longer holds true. Today, a different kind of person and attitude is desired, and not exclusively for managerial positions.
According to the Growth Mindset, we all have the ability for continuous professional growth, and the only barrier is attitude. Employees who strive for excellence boost company productivity and inspire others. So, in this new era, a leader is “a person with the ability to motivate, provide advice to, or control others”. Such a definition means that we should be looking for a set of skills that are more related to people than to being in charge.
Getting Started with a Leadership Development Program
Step one: find the leaders in your organization. Despite the Growth Mindset concept, not everyone is cut out to be a leader. Many people prefer a passive attitude at work, or simply don’t have the personality type to be effective.
But leaders are out there. Through evaluation processes like a skills gap analysis, HR can identify them as they demonstrate certain skills, such as self-awareness and communication, as well as talents in change management and strategic thinking. Remember that you are not looking for perfection here; that is why you are creating a leadership development program in the first place. Instead, some level of proficiency in most or all of these categories is a good indicator.
In addition, your company probably has its own set of leadership training goals based on current strategy. It might be growing, or have an engagement challenge on its hands, or be in need of greater efficiency. All of these will affect the kind of person who is ideal for the program. Again, the skills gap analysis should take a look at strategy and how that influences the kinds of abilities that your company requires for current operations and into the future.
You may find such employees among:
- New and existing managers
- Those who have been promoted to, or who volunteered for, leadership positions at any level
- New hires who have had positions of responsibility in the past, such as business or military leadership, entrepreneurial ventures, or volunteering
Refining Program Selections
Once you have made an initial list of participants, you want to boil it down a bit. A leadership program can be intense and require effort from candidates. It also results in lost employee productivity – not to mention the cost of the program itself. Making sure that you have dedicated and capable leaders will minimize drop-outs and maximize participation and engagement with the material.
Focus on Interest
From their point of view, employees who take part in a development program are declaring two things:
- They will invest effort into the program
- They want an enhanced leadership role afterward
That’s a big commitment. To demonstrate that they are serious, candidates should be proactive in signing up and asking questions in response to the announcements and promotions related to the course.
Another aspect similar to showing interest is proof of efficiency. Those who take part in a development program will be learning complex management ideas. Can they learn at that level, and at the pace required? Secondly, will they be able to take on the additional responsibility of being a leader once the course is over? Asking peers and managers about a candidate’s learning abilities and performance under pressure will help you choose the most capable.
Look at Long-Term Commitment
Every L&D manager faces the prospect of an employee receiving an expensive training program one day and leaving the next with their advanced skill set. Leadership programs are no exception. Before finalizing your selection of course attendees, you should run a risk-of-loss analysis, which considers factors that might contribute to an employee deciding to leave. These include:
- Average length of stay – does the employee switch jobs often, or have they been with you for a long time?
- Personal events – have there been recent events in the employee’s personal life, such as a divorce or death in the family, which might cause them to leave?
- Job satisfaction – is the candidate generally satisfied with their current role, coworkers, managers, and organizational culture?
Leadership L&D with Growthspace
If you expect high-level performance from your leaders, then you should prepare them with the top tools in the market. Growthspace has been acclaimed by some of the biggest names in HR/L&D, and for good reason.
Growthspace technology lets you source the best training experts in any business area, from around the world. The platform allows administrators to arrange and monitor all critical aspects of an L&D program through one interface. And, if it’s ROI you’re looking for, every Growthspace training initiative starts with goal-setting and ends with an intuitive evaluation process.