What is a Leadership Development Plan?

Until recently, corporate leadership development plans were generally a one-size-fits-all model. But the disappointing ROI of these programs demonstrates that development plans need to be tailored to people. The evolution towards virtual and hybrid learning programs as a result of the pandemic and increased globalization may make this task easier (as well as making training accessible to all).

It’s also important to tailor the plan to your demographic. Millennial or Gen Z managers, for example, are more comfortable with self-directed learning than previous generations. They are also willing to try new learning and development methods, such as the following:

  • Learning at your own pace
  • Group learning
  • Immersive learning
  • Artificial intelligence learning

What is a leadership development program?

So what does a good leadership development program look like, and what skill areas should it include? These are three of them.

Communication skills

Communication skills are key to developing inspiring leaders. It always was, but now soft skills like empathy, emotional intelligence, and building trust are critical to leadership development book a call.

Providing feedback is another area team leaders need to master, particularly with Millennial and Gen Z employees, who thrive on real-time feedback and strategic recognition. For example, some people like to get a little recognition on social media when they accomplish a goal. A good leader knows how to tailor their feedback to achieve better results.

Advice

Specialists consider mentoring a key component of leadership development. Not only does it empower leaders and improve their skill set, it can also increase a sense of responsibility to the company and decrease turnover. Despite its benefits, DDI found that only 11% of companies use peer coaching extensively as a learning method. This is a clear opportunity for companies.

Mentoring

Mentoring is another key element in the leadership development toolkit. It involves both senior managers and junior leaders who are most at risk of leaving the company. Mentoring can work formally, where mentors and mentees sign a contract, and informally.

But either way, the key is to link people intentionally and not randomly. For senior leaders, pairing them with an external mentor was shown to lead to lower staff turnover than an internal mentor.

Five Tips for Successful Leadership Development

So what should you look for in a leadership development program, and how can you set leadership development goals? Start with these five tips:

·         Think outside the box

Dare to innovate with the format of your leadership team training, especially if you work with leaders of the millennial generation, generation Z or with leaders of the future.

·         Allocate adequate time and budget to reflect

Statistics show that people forget up to 70% of a training content in just one day. Therefore, take into account the time needed for the consolidation and integration of new skills.

·         For learning to stick, make it radically relevant

You need to tailor it to the specific situations and challenges that leaders might be facing in the company, as well as in the industry, right now.

·         Do not focus on a single model

Customized leadership development plans can help counter the risk of leaders leaving the organization after training.

·         Measure the impact

Plan ahead how you will measure success and don’t just measure it last. In this way, you ensure that you stay focused on the objectives of the company and that you have something that demonstrates the ROI.

And lastly, remember that a good organization supports all of its staff, not just senior leaders.

But the disappointing ROI of these programs demonstrates that development plans need to be tailored to people. The evolution towards virtual and hybrid learning programs as a result of the pandemic and increased globalization may make this task easier (as well as making training accessible to all).

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