Learning & Development

Leadership Training & Developing Leadership Skills

Leadership training is a must for any current manager or employee looking to move into a management role.

As leaders, it’s important to understand how your team will interpret your words and actions. That’s where leadership training comes in!

You’ve heard the phrase, “lead by example”. However, this is easier said than done without the proper training for your C-Suite and team managers. And to make matters worse, it actually drives employees away from your company.

In fact, according to a recent Gallup survey, out of the more than 1 million employed U.S. workers surveyed stated their reason for quitting their jobs was from a bad boss or immediate supervisor. And 75 percent of these employees voluntarily because of their supervisor. 

These days, there are so many resources available to help you become a better leader. From strategic workshops to videos and articles—there’s something out there for everyone.

However, many of these training materials aren't tailored specifically for leaders looking to grow their teams or cultivate new talent. As a result, most leadership training is focused on the individual leader and their specific needs.

In this article, you'll see what leadership training is, the benefits training leadership skills has for your organization, and best practices for implementing leadership training programs.

Let's dive in.

What is leadership training?

Leadership training is the process of delivering specialized training programs to employees that develop the necessary skills to effectively lead teams. These training programs for leadership development focus on workplace communication, management techniques, motivation, and coaching.

This type of training isn't only for active managers but can provide great benefits to employees who've been promoted to a supervisor role. Not every employee is already equipped with an executive presence, but with proper training, they can eventually learn how to lead teams effectively.

But, what can leadership training do for your organization?

Benefits of corporate leadership training

The need to train your managers is vital for your company culture and employees well being. If you need more convincing here are some benefits that you’ll reap from a better training team.

1. Increases employee engagement

The more a manager motivates their team members, the more engaged employees will be. Plus, the more feedback from a manager, the more employees feel their job matters. Interaction recognizes that each employee is a valuable team member. And in return, employees are more present on-the-job.

2. Trains junior employees

By training your managers, you are also training your more junior-level team members in the process. A great manager will teach what they know to their team members.

Through this process, younger employees reap the benefits of increased skills and knowledge of the company. And when these individuals are ready to step into a more managerial role, they will be prepared for the increased responsibility.

3. Adds consistency

All managers enter an organization with various soft skills like communication and decision making. These different degrees within management can cause inconsistencies across the company. By proving the same management training across all teams, will help unify managerial style.

4. Protects against lawsuits

Part of being a great manager is dealing with problems employees may be causing. Without proper training, a potential issue can escalate quickly turning into a lawsuit for the company. And this is a costly mistake that can be easily avoided if managers know the proper responses.

5. Makes employees happier

No one likes coming to work in a toxic environment. A bad manager can make situations worse for employees.

So for example, a supervisor is constantly negative or passing the blame onto team members. This bad attitude only drives a wedge into team comradery and makes employees shut down.

On the other hand, management training can teach ways to get the best out of each team member. 

6. Transitions are smoother

There are certain times when companies make major shifts in direction. Say there is a new branding campaign being rolled out or a new customer service program.

Well-trained managers can teach their employees how to respond to these changes without disrupting productivity. They can also explain why changes are being made which helps employees better field questions they may receive. 

7. Creates better teams

A manager’s job is to look at the big picture. If there is an undervalued team member, what can be done to use this individual’s talents to the fullest? Or if a team is underperforming, why is this happening?

A well-trained manager can figure out these issues and make corrections. The end result is a better-performing team overall. 

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That's why you should consider taking it upon yourself to develop your leadership skills. Here are some great ways to do that:

Leadership training areas for managers

In order for employees to develop the necessary leadership skills to manage a team, proper training should be provided. When creating a training program for leadership development it's important to focus on the traits that characterize an effective manager.

Here are some training areas to develop skills for management:

1. Coaching and mentoring

It’s hard for a manager to lead if none of the team members feel empowered. A manager is given a position because of their skillset and the company's expertise.

So it’s important they pass on the skills they have learned in the position to their team. Since not everyone is a natural coach, develop training courses that teach how to mentor. That way everyone on the team learns on the job and becomes a more valuable employee.

2. Develop soft skills

Soft skills like workplace communication and problem-solving are key to being a great manager. Build courses with scenarios and tough situations in which a manager must navigate. There may be habits or patterns that a manager follows that he or she may not be aware they are doing.

Building these soft skills can help managers lead in a better direction and make employees respond more favorably. 

3. Digital collaboration

In this technology-driven world, teams rely on project management systems. These are great for keeping teams organized and on task.

However, managers still need to steer the projects to completion. So leadership training should include how to collaborate more effectively with these tools. 

4. Planning

Managers are responsible for creating plans and executing these to completion. However, a lot goes into planning. There is everything from creating a plan to organizing the team tasks to unforeseen issues along the way.

So planning is an important managerial training skill to have. It can also better organize a manager and provide a clearer direction to meeting key business objectives. 

5. Company culture

Many employees leave companies due to poor company culture. Either they don’t feel accepted by their team or they feel the company mission is not being carried out effectively. Leadership has a responsibility to create a strong company culture.

Continual learning can help guide managers to reinforce company goals and make sure team members feel they have a voice within the company. 

6. Professional development

Different from mentoring or coaching, each employee has personal goals they want to achieve within the company. Managers need to understand and build these skills with a training plan for each team member.

However, this skill may not come naturally to some managers. Adding training on what learning track each team member should be on and what managers should expect from each employee post-training strengthens the team as a whole.

Plus, the more employees grow, the more willing they will be to stay within your company.

7. Problem-solving

You can plan for everything, but not everything goes according to plan. That’s why problem-solving is another necessary area for leadership training. Problems arise with projects, but they also happen within a team or with a particular team member.

A great manager needs to know how to solve these issues in order to keep the workflow consistent and the team dynamic working well. 

Best practices for leadership training

It’s one thing to develop great leadership training modules, but unless you have buy-in and the right delivery method, managers won’t see the value.

Here are a few tips to ensure your time spent on new leadership training material is delivered correctly:

Use storytelling

Training is more effective if managers understand how it will impact their daily lives. Using storytelling and actual examples within your training will make it more impactful for the employees taking it.

They will see the value in what is being taught. It’s also important to explain at the beginning of each training session what value it will add. That way managers will have an impactful outline of what will be learned.

Play off of strengths

While leadership training is meant to learn new skills, always pointing out what employees don’t know can have a negative effect. So instead, play up manager strengths in the training.

For example, you know your management team is strong in communication skills, but lacking in decision-making. You could say something like, “Due to your strong communication skills within your team, we are going to show you how those valuable skills can help make better team decisions. This will help build confidence in these new skills.

Keep it simple

Managers have enough on their “to-do” lists and the last thing they need is more to remember on the job. So training should offer practical and easy solutions they can immediately start using.

If training is too complex or technical, it will soon be forgotten. So a great way to make training impactful is using visuals, graphs, and charts. By illustrating your key training points in this way, managers can grasp key concepts easier. 

Teach transparency

Sometimes leadership training is met with distrust. Managers are put in positions because they have earned their way to those roles.

However, no one has all the answers. So training should be honest, open and a forum free for managers to ask questions and get additional training if they don’t understand something.

Managers who are more empathetic make better leaders since they will understand if one of their team members is experiencing something similar. 

Elicit feedback

You’ll get better buy-in from your company leaders if you make training a collaborative effort. So once your training program is rolled out, ask managers for feedback. What did they like? What can be improved? And what is missing from the training?

Why leadership training matters

An organization only works if it’s a collaborative effort. Leadership training can teach those skills to make this happen. Once you equip your leaders with the right learning program, you will build a better company culture and one where employees feel valued.

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