The role of leadership training and development is to develop the capacity of leaders in organizations. In many organizations, managers are entrusted with the role of executing the organizational strategies by creating influence as well as growing the capabilities of others. They, therefore, play leadership roles in the sense that they are in authority to make decisions, take responsibility and promote employee engagement all intended to achieve the organization’s goals.
What are leadership development programs and do we need them?
You must have heard about leadership development programs recently and that many organizations are participating in them. With the rise of leadership as one of the soft skills managers should learn, leadership development plans are attempting to address this need in the market. A smart organization with a working strategic plan needs to include a leadership development program as well.
Leadership development programs address how organizations develop their leaders. They provide a leadership development experience designed for individuals within an organization who are working towards leadership positions. A leadership development program contains a leadership development plan which is a plan that helps individuals or organizations prepare for leadership roles and senior management positions. It guides individuals in an organization through career growth and professional development.
I am under the assumption that your organization is a going concern, that you have no plan to dissolve it in the next couple of years. In this case, then you should be planning on the succession of leadership for the organization at all levels. Many leaders make the mistake of planning for top positions leadership and ignore middle management and lower management leadership. An effective leadership development program plans for leaders at all levels, since these are the ones that grow and take up top leadership roles.
Why do we need leadership training?
Leadership is a skill that can be learned
Like any other skill, leadership can be learned. This is why individuals and organizations need to learn that not just a selected few can be leaders. Anyone can be a leader. Knowing this, everyone aspiring to be a leader, in any position, can learn leadership skills through the right form of training and leadership development programs.
There is no perfect leader
You may be a leader in your position and you think that you are nailing this leadership this. While this may be partly true, there is no perfect leader and even you, a great leader, can improve. Jack Welch, one of the most popular CEOs of all time, says that he had to constantly check his ego and his leadership and seek ways to improve. He recognized that he was not a perfect leader and he needed to constantly work on his leadership to become a better leader for himself, his people and the organization.
Everyone needs a change of mindset
Carol Dweck, in her book, Mindset, acknowledges that some leaders are stuck with the fixed mindset. They believe that some people are talented, and others not so much. If they think they fall in the talented category, they don’t work at improving themselves. After all, they are so smart. The same leaders believe that they should hire talented people as well. They, therefore, look for people with all the ‘right’ papers and qualifications and ignore those who work for growth. As a result, they stuff their organizations with ‘talent’ and no effort. Everyone in the organization is so content and proud of how good they are that they don’t work on improving themselves. Leaders need to change their mindsets if they need to change their organizations and this is whereby leadership training comes in. in fact, at the beginning of our leadership training program, is a mindset training intended to change the mindsets of the people.
Emotional intelligence training
At this age, it has come to be known that emotional intelligence is as important as intellectual intelligence, if not more important. All forms of leadership training should have emotional intelligence training to ensure that leaders are trained on self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. Emotionally intelligent leaders know how to become good leaders and maintain good relationships both within and outside the organization all of which have great benefits for the organization. This leads me to my next point on self-awareness.
Leaders need to constantly check themselves. Being in a position of authority and power can get into anyone’s head, even if you are a good person deep down. Self-awareness helps leaders be in constant awareness of who they are and what role they have to play in the lives of others and the organization. They have a duty to represent others and they should be self-aware enough that they don’t use this for their own benefit. Self-awareness gives them self-regulation whereby they regulate their emotions so that they don’t hurt others as well from not being in check of their emotions.
Leaders that are not self-aware are sometimes threatened by others when they rise to the top. As a result, they stifle others not to prosper and while doing this they hurt the efforts of the others and the organization as well. Self-aware leaders are aware when feelings of envy and jealousy, feelings of ego and other unpleasant feelings are coming up to them and put them in check before they do something bad. Self-aware leaders are confident with who they are, both strengths and weaknesses and are therefore not threatened when another person opposes them or seems smarter than they are.
Creating a vibrant organizational culture
It’s common for leaders to believe that a good organizational culture is that which works in harmony. Everyone is agreement and they are all focused on working towards the same goal with little or no opposition. If you have been of this mindset, you are not alone. Some famous (or infamous) leaders have been known to believe so. Lee Iacocca was said to have surrounded himself with people that never opposed him and in his mind, his organization was having such a harmonious culture. He fired people that tended to oppose him and only surrounded himself with worshippers. What happened when he was taking the organization down? The worshippers went down with him. This leads me to the next point on the importance of leadership training.
Avoiding and managing groupthink
When a leader is of the school of thought that a good culture is that which moves with smooth harmony, a culture of groupthink is developed. This is whereby all the members of the group (be it managers or teams) are thinking the same and in agreement. No one is opposing the thinking of the group. Different writers on the topic of leadership such as John Maxwell in 21 irrefutable laws of leadership, Carol Dweck in Mindsets and Adam Grant in Originals warn that leaders should be wary of groupthink in their teams. Not all teams that are in harmony are productive. Harmony could mean group thinks whereby all individuals are in the same wavelength which doesn’t necessarily have to be right. This is where leadership training comes in whereby it can help you tell the difference between a good and cohesive team and groupthink.
Tell the difference between a leader and a manager
Many of us are considering leadership training because their managerial positions have made them consider their leadership skills. We are leaders because we have been allocated a managerial position. If you desire to be a leader, and a good one, in this case, you must be wondering what the difference is between leadership and management. This is where leadership training comes in. it can help you learn if you are currently a leader or a manager. It can also help you learn how to be a leader in various situations. Leadership training can help you tell the difference between where to apply leadership skills and where to apply managerial skills.
Learn about leadership styles
We are all different kinds of leaders and we use different leadership styles. However, the difference is, which leadership styles are good and which ones are not good. While there is no perfect leadership style, understanding of leadership styles will help you learn that the best style of leadership is situational leadership. This is the kind of style that uses a different leadership style depending on the situation. If a situation is urgent for example and requires you to put your foot down, you can use this style of leadership. If a situation involves resolving a relational conflict between two people, you may consider using a more people-oriented leadership style. Leadership training, therefore, will help you evaluate all kinds of leadership styles and learn about the right one for your situation.
Improving your leadership competencies
After you have evaluated the kind of leader that you are, and you have also learned if you are a leader or a manager, there must be some leadership competencies that you would like to improve to become a better leader. Leadership training will help you identify these competencies and offer you strategies to help you improve the leadership competencies. This means you may have to improve your inborn attributes that make up a good leader as well as sharpen some skills that will contribute to making you an excellent leader.
Leadership succession plan
A smart organization in the 21st century knows the importance of a leadership succession plan. If an organization does not have a leadership succession plan, it is slacking on planning for its tomorrow. A leadership succession plan helps prepare the leaders of tomorrow when the current leaders have left the organization. Leadership training helps you recognize the importance of succession planning and how you can go about creating a leadership succession plan for your organization.
Most organizations are made up of teams. It is the combined efforts of these teams that contribute to achieving the overall goals of the organization. This means that each of these teams should be playing their role independently to their level best to contribute to their overall goal. How can a leader effectively lead and manage teams? Leadership training will show you the phases of team development, and the type of leadership the leader should use to lead the team at each of these phases. Leadership training will also show the characteristics of different teams and the challenges that face different teams and how leaders can successfully overcome these challenges and effectively manage each team despite the differences in characteristics of the teams.
Managing across generations
Organizations today have all kinds of generations working in them. From the 65-year-old to the 19-year-old still in college. If you are a manager, by now you have recognized and appreciated that the management styles to be used on these two individuals are totally different. What motivates one individual is very different from what motivates the next individual. It’s therefore important that modern-day managers are equipped with the right managerial and leadership skills for managing across generations. Leadership training will teach you of the characteristics of different generations at the workplace, how they differ in areas pertaining to communication, engagement, and motivation and how you can manage them effectively so that they contribute to goal achievement of the organization.
Leadership and technology
Traditional leadership styles can be limited by the increasing use of technology in the workplace. Technology has largely disrupted the status quo and many managers are concerned about which leadership skills may apply in organizations. This especially is pertaining to employee engagement. How can you foster employee engagement in organizations where individuals are constantly working on technologies and possibly largely distracted? Leadership training will help you learn about ways to foster engagement despite the large use of technology in the workplace.
Develop leadership development plans
Due to how busy organizations sometimes are, inviting leadership trainers all the time to help with leadership development might not be viable. It can be time-consuming and take a toll on organizations’ operations. The good thing is that well-structured leadership training can help you learn how to develop leadership development plans that you can use to plan for your organization’s future.
The above summarizes the importance of leadership training. Your organization should consider leadership training and development to improve on these areas and create better leadership capacity.