More than ever, organizations are realizing that investing in leadership development is essential to staying afloat in this ever-changing business landscape. This is evident in the sheer amount of money that companies spend each year on training their management teams. Data provided by Training Industry shows that American companies alone spent an estimated 166 billion dollars on leadership development in 2019, and the annual total continues to rise year after year. However, many business analysts suggest that most of the funds invested in leadership training are going to waste, but why?
The Issue with Leadership Development
The problem lies not in training itself but rather in what comes afterward. Without an effective leadership model to follow, all of the knowledge and instruction gained from these leadership development programs goes in one ear and right out the other.
Too many companies spend thousands of dollars on sending their management staff to seminars and training courses without ever really stopping to think about their reasons for doing so. Instead, because leadership development has become so popular, they think it’s the logical thing to do, assuming their team leaders will emerge from these programs as leadership superheroes. But, unfortunately, that’s not how it works.
So what is the key to maximizing a leadership development investment? Well, each business or organization is different, but in general, two essential skills yield powerful rewards when combined with the knowledge gained from a leadership improvement program: effective communication and a plan for leadership progression.
Combining Acquired Leadership Skills with Good Communication
Of all the members that make up a workforce, those in leadership positions rely the heaviest on communication. Every day, managers, supervisors, and CEOs bare the responsibility of ensuring that their entire team is united and playing their part in accomplishing a shared goal. A task that involves a constant need for communication.
While an organization may invest in leadership development to equip its overseers with the information they need to take charge, without the ability to communicate effectively, it won’t be conveyed in a way that motivates or inspires others. So in many instances, those looking to enhance their capacity to lead need to go back to the drawing board and reassess how they converse, commend, and critique the individuals on their team.
Straightforward, clear conversations are the foundation of good communication. When discussing team objectives, there is no such thing as oversimplifying your expectations. When everyone is on the same page with even the seemingly insignificant details, confusion will be kept to a minimum, allowing for maximum productivity.
However, no one is perfect, and from time to time, a team member will fail to reach the standards laid out for them. In this case, a courageous conversation may be needed, that is, one that may be difficult or uncomfortable to have. Though often serious, these conversations are mutually beneficial for both leaders and followers. A team member should be able to walk away from the discussion with clarified expectations to help them realize their full potential. At the same time, a well-prepared courageous conversation will promote confidence and trust in a supervisor’s ability to take the lead. It’s important to remember that though we naturally tend to shy away from conflict, these challenging conversations are often the most crucial to effective leadership.
A Strategic Approach to Leadership Progression
Far too often, a business or organization will invest in leadership training with a short-term mindset. They feel that improving the ability to manage and interact with their staff will resolve their internal productivity issues, and in many cases, it does. However, to fully maximize leadership development, the future must be kept in mind, specifically in terms of team members who aren’t in a leadership position yet.
Those in positions of authority are often encouraged to train themselves out of a job. While it initially sounds counterintuitive, this mindset encourages constant exponential growth. Forbes Magazine suggests that companies “need to identify talent and create a leadership pipeline, so that people are ready when opportunities for promotion come up. “
Since humans learn by example, a great way to start this leadership pipeline is to involve team members with potential in tasks “above their pay grade.” When important decisions must be made, ask for their input. You can also delegate small assignments to them that upper-level management would typically handle. Naturally, involving them in such tasks instills a sense of value and gives them precious insight into what is involved in being an effective leader, further preparing them for the day when they can take your place in an overseeing role. Of course, appreciation should be expressed for their efforts. The last thing an inspiring leader needs is a team member who feels that they are being taken advantage of. So, reward them fairly.
Maximize your Leadership Potential with Aden Leadership
Investing in leadership development is one of the best ways to encourage growth, unity, and positivity within your business or organization. However, leadership courses and seminars often leave you with a plethora of valuable information but no strategy to apply it. Fortunately, Aden leadership is here to help you maximize your leadership investment with personalized training and coaching. Greg Aden and his team can take what you already know about effective leadership and build upon it, creating the perfect strategy to fit your organization’s individual needs. Speaking of opportunities to maximize your investment in leadership development, for those of you within two hours of Denver, please consider attending my live event on Thu, Feb 9 in Golden, CO.