Putting together a Leadership Development Programme

Putting together a Leadership Development Programme

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What to consider before designing a Leadership Development Programe 

By Mark Wager

In today’s tough economic times we are constantly being asked to do more with less. Resources and budgets are reducing yet our targets remain the same or in some circumstances increase. In this scenario organisations need their employees to step up and to deliver more discretionary effort than they did previously. The only way to do this is to have leaders in the organisation that have the knowledge, skills and attributes to create a culture of trust and innovation such that everyone can start delivering more with less.

It’s becoming more common for organisations to invest time and money into developing leadership skills rather than the traditional technical skills and senior Managers are starting to realise that they need somebody who can inspire people. This is more valuable than someone who can produce a nicely formatted report. So how do you turn Managers into leaders? Well before you start you need to consider putting together a high-level design which looks at three main areas. Your learning objectives, your key design factors and the learning content. Once you have put these together then you are well on your way to making a difference to your organisation.

Here’s a typical example of a high-level design

LEARNING OBJECTIVES

 

  • Managers to demonstrate understanding of their personal skills, strengths, attributes and values for leadership responsibilities
  • Managers to demonstrate increased understanding about what effective leadership comprises and what leadership styles and behaviours work at the organisation
  • Managers demonstrate changed leadership behaviour on-the-job
  • Managers have the necessary skills in order to increase engagement levels within their teams.

When you are looking at the learning objectives make it clear what exactly you want to see at the end of the program. I’ve seen and been on many courses where the participants complete an evaluation form at the end of the day and provide glowing feedback, that speaker was informative, the lunch was well catered etc then they head back to the office and place their course folder on their desks were it remains and within a week they can remember little of the course content. There is no emphasis on applied learning.  If you are serious about turning managers into leaders then you have to be clear about what behaviours you are expecting to see as a result of the program.

KEY DESIGN FACTORS

  • Senior Managers of the organisation to play an important role in the programme
  • All staff are given an opportunity to provide feedback on what they want from their Managers
  • The program is part of an overall Leadership change including new performance development plans and a staff development initiative.
  • Managers are provided with specialised Leadership support after the program

When you are designing the Leadership program you need to get buy-in from the beginning and by that I don’t just mean the potential participants but senior managers as well as the staff who are going to be impacted by these new improved leaders. The senior management is vital if you want the organisation to make serious inroads. If senior managers can’t find time to talk to the managers then a leadership development program won’t fix the organisations problems because lack of effort from senior managers means the problem is at that level and until that is fixed everything else is just camouflaging the problem. Ground-level employee involvement is important but is often overlooked. Just imagine if you wanted to improve a product you wouldn’t think twice about getting input from your clients, in fact it would be strange if you didn’t yet many organisations put together a leadership program without asking the people who will be most affected with what they think or plan.

Never forget turning managers into leaders is just the first stage. The end result is to have a culture that encourages leaders at all levels and that is why it is wise to include a development initiative for ground-level staff as well as providing specialised  leadership support after the program.

LEARNING CONTENT

  • How to be a Leader
  • Leading self
  • Leading engagement
  • Effective conversations for Performance Improvement
  • Retaining talent
  • Change management
  • Comprehensive knowledge of psychological type (MBTI© Myers-Briggs Type Indicator)
  • People skills (Conflict resolution, motivation, advanced communication skills)

The content and the delivery of the content is where theory turns into results. This will alter depending on the nature of your industry and the time and money you are able to commit. Just remember when you are considering the value of investment, the days of considering leadership programs as a luxury or a reward are going.  Nowadays organisations are realising that it is vital to have quality leaders that will tap into the discretionary effort that all employees possess.

“The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born that there is a genetic factor to leadership. That’s nonsense; in fact the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” – Warren Bennis

This article is taken from the book "Elite Leadership" by Mark Wager. To purchase clink on the picture below

 

Posted: Monday 17 June 2013

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