5 Elements Required to Successfully Develop a Leader

Making real and lasting change is difficult. CEO’s, Learning and Development, and Human Resources invest time, money and energy to help managers make lasting change to the way they lead. More often than not, those efforts fall short and managers go back to old habits. The results are dismal including increased turnover, less than stellar performance, and low employee engagement.

We’ve learned a tremendous amount about what it takes to successfully develop a leader while implementing leadership development programs with organizations of all sizes and industries. Whether you work with us or not, these are the 5 critical elements that need to be a part of your leadership development program in order to successfully develop your leaders.

1. Self-Awareness. In order for anyone to make changes in their life, it starts with deciding themselves its time to change. A great way to get managers to open up to change is to create self-awareness of their leadership strengths and weaknesses. We create self-awareness with Elevating Others 360°  Reports that are completed by a manager and their direct reports. Regardless of whether you use LearnLoft’s assessment or someone else’s a few of the essential competencies you should measure are:

  • Vulnerability
  • Empathy
  • Trust
  • Accountability
  • Coaching

2. Proven, Implementable Content. You attend a class full of theory and the materials that look like they were from the 1970’s. If you were able to get past the hideous powerpoint (because of an engaging trainer), by the time you return to work, you’re scratching your head wondering how to actually implement what you just learned. Sound familiar?

The content you use to develop leaders has to be easy to recall and even easier to implement. LearnLoft has spent years researching and testing our content. It’s actionable, and it works! Our workshops not only use models, and very specific examples but also exercises that get people thinking about themselves and their teams. Whatever content you choose or build for your program make sure it works and it’s aligned to what’s happening in the workplace today.

3. Coaching. Coaching not only adds accountability it also drastically improves the success of leadership programs. The latest research shows leadership development programs that include coaching see as much as a 60% improvement over programs without coaching. Whether you use peer coaching, group coaching or one-on-one coaching, the point is to include it with your program. You will see a drastic shift in engagement and in results for your organization. Depending on your size, a great option is to certify a group of people within your organization to coach your content.  

4. Ongoing Education. Workshops or training events should be the beginning, not the only part of your program. We all know the statistics on information retention, so I won’t bore you. Whether you do online training or reinforcement webinars, you should be touching your learners with some type of reinforcement to keep their development top of mind. Let’s face it, they’re leading teams and attending learning events or logging into an online module is at the bottom of their priorities. Make reinforcement events worth their time by providing valuable content, and they will engage.

5. Elective Enrollment. Instead of forcing your leaders through training, offer them the opportunity to improve their leadership skills by enrolling in an incredible experience. Doesn’t that sound a lot more tempting? Registration into a leadership development program shouldn’t be something they have to do it should be viewed as an opportunity they’re given. If you include an application step or other requirements (ie: being nominated by peers or direct reports) to attend, you’ll see an increase application of your program and engagement.

If you include these 5 elements into your next leadership development program, it will have the best chance to be a success.

7 Best Practices to Develop Leaders In Your Organization Need some more ideas to help ensure the leadership program in your organization is up to par?  Download the the whitepaper here.

Don’t know where to start? We’d love to help! Talk to a leadership expert here.

Coming this Summer! Our book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success with publishing partner McGraw Hill.

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