Create leadership development programs

When you think about growing your business, what comes to mind? You’re probably concerned with making more sales, improving your product, marketing your brand or streamlining operations. But what about leadership development?

In recent years, the rise of tech companies along with an increase of millennials in the workforce – 72% of whom want opportunities to learn new skills and advance in their careers – have renewed interest in leadership development programs. But they’ve been around for decades; some of the earliest proponents were business giants like IBM, GE and Unilever. That’s because they don’t just create satisfied employees – they actually improve your bottom line.

It’s time to get on board with leadership development training – whether you want it for your business or yourself.

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What is leadership development?

One leadership development definition is that it’s “the process of recognizing potential and building management skills in your company.” Leadership development expands the ability of individuals to perform effectively in leadership roles within an organization. Leadership development can include specific programs, one-on-one or group coaching or self-guided development through reading, listening to podcasts or watching leadership programs. 

What are leadership development programs?

The purpose of a leadership development program is to give employees a clear path to management positions and allow you to promote from within. It does this by first recognizing potential and then developing it through a series of exercises and training. Some of the skills leadership development training works on are:

1. Collaboration:

Sometimes it can seem difficult to collaborate even between departments in the same building, nevermind from top to bottom and with offices across the world. Effective leadership development programs teach participants how to bridge these gaps.

2. Conflict resolution:

Conflict is inevitable in business and in life. Leadership development gives your employees the tools they need to mediate conflict professionally and neutrally.

3. Change management:

The business world moves fast. Companies need to be agile and able to respond – and leaders need to be prepared to help others adjust to the change. They also need to be able to create positive, lasting change in their organizations.

4. Negotiation:

Negotiating is a subtle art that involves complex communication skills, empathy and confidence. The best leadership development programs will teach the components of negotiation and how to make them work for you.

5. Time management:

Even the best leaders won’t get anything done if they don’t have good time management. This is a skill that can be taught like any other, and is essential to any leadership development program.

Why is leadership development training important?

For an individual, the benefits are clear: you’ll gain new skills and make yourself much more hirable – and be able to command a higher salary. In a company, leadership development training increases employee morale and creates loyalty in your employees. This simple investment can create huge benefits for you business:

1. Improve retention:

The 2017 Retention Report from the Work Institute found that replacing an employee costs 33% of that employee’s annual salary – and that 75% of employee turnover is preventable. Leadership development programs are one of the most consistent ways employers can improve retention. Satisfied employees who feel appreciated are more likely to stay with the company.

2. Decrease costs:

While setting up leadership development training comes with upfront costs, it will improve your bottom line in the long run. Promoting from within cuts down on onboarding costs and saves your other employees time that would have been spent headhunting and interviewing – and time is money.

3. Create a positive culture:

There’s been a lot of focus on company culture in the modern business world, and it isn’t a passing fad. Employees increasingly value company culture when deciding where to work, and customers “vote” for responsible businesses with their hard-earned dollars. Investing in your human capital and providing professional development opportunities create that purpose-driven culture and turn your employees into raving fans.

4. Be ready for anything:

Not everyone who begins your leadership development program will become a great leader in your company – and that’s OK. Everyone who participates will still learn valuable skills that are essential to running an agile, response-ready business.

5. Attract the best talent:

In any industry, great leaders attract top talent. When you do have a need to hire from the outside, leadership development will help your leaders know how to spot and attract the best person for the job.

Why do leadership development programs fail?

Just because your organization has a leadership development program in place does not guarantee it will be successful. Here are some common reasons why leadership development programs fail:

1. The program is aimed at the wrong people

people are walking down the street

Some employees in your organization are ready to grow into and thrive as leaders and some are not. When you try to force leadership development programs on those who are not ready for them, the efforts will likely fail. Pre-qualify potential participants first to find out who are good fits for your program.

2. The application is too broad

In an effort to apply to as many team members as possible, many business owners use leadership development programs that are too broad in nature. It’s possible these types of programs may provide a few helpful tips that employees can utilize, but they aren’t in-depth enough to create real growth. Before deploying any leadership program, you must first do an in-depth needs analysis to identify the appropriate material.

a man is looking at the bright sign

3. They don’t create discomfort

how to create a leadership development program

Leaders must get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Through their leadership journey, they will encounter conflict, have to lay off employees and be faced with other situations that will be difficult to deal with. If leadership development programs don’t force individuals out of their comfort zones, they will not create growth.

Skills to include in a leadership development program

Leaders must have a large skill set to succeed in their positions, but there are some common skills that every leader needs to possess to be effective. Including these three skills in your leadership development program is mandatory for making it successful – which will make your team successful.

1. Managing change

Leaders who enact change through strategic innovation yet cannot manage change – both positive and negative –will not be successful. Leadership training programs must teach leaders not only how to manage changes themselves, but how to help those they lead deal with change and keep moving in a direction of progress.

two men are communicating and laughing

2. Negotiation

goal review in the notebook

Good leaders are always negotiating: with clients, colleagues, business partners and their team members. Incorporating negotiation techniques and strategies into your leadership development program will help your leaders enhance their influence and get through to those who have opposing points of view. It will also help them win bigger deals and increase sales.

3. Communication

Communication skills are the cornerstone of many leadership development programs. To ensure this section of your program is successful, concentrate on the multi-faceted nature of modern communication. Teach your team how to communicate through email, text and video-conferencing as well as in person. Depending on the nature of your business, you may also want to feature training on communicating with those from other countries, cultures or backgrounds.

a list of leadership development programs

Top leadership development programs

Does thinking about how to create a leadership development program seem overwhelming? Let the experts handle it for you.

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins’ Leadership Academy will uncover your inner leader, giving you all the skills you need to take charge, inspire others and advance in your career. Go for that upper management role – or even the C-suite – and make the transformation you’ve always wanted in your company or your life.

Tony’s Business Coaching will get your business back on track in all areas. Learn how to create a massive action plan to spark positive change in leadership, growth and more. Your coach is your support system, so that you can support others.

tony robbins leadership

Gary Vee and Grant Cardone

gary vee leadership

The National Achievers Congress, run by business titans Gary Vee and Grant Cardone, is another place you can surround yourself with positive energy and great leaders striving to be their best. They bring in leading speakers and entrepreneurs from all industries to teach the latest leadership methods.

Whether you choose to create your own leadership development program or turn to the experts for guidance, you’re sure to see amazing benefits within your organization.

Want to develop your leadership skills today?

Learn everything you need to know about leadership development and more through Tony Robbins’ Leadership Styles Quiz.