How much of a priority is leadership training and development in your business this year?

We ask the question, because although we are all experiencing a tough economic climate, investment in leadership development and training will pay dividends.  Training and development does not simply equip managers with new skills – training and development has been widely shown to improve the motivation and engagement of managers too.  Clearly, more motivated managers are a better position to motivate their staff, which will have a positive effect on morale, engagement, satisfaction and personal performance.  More highly engaged and better performing staff will ultimately impact positively on the financial performance of the business – a real case of ‘win-win’.

However, before any investment is made it is vital to first consider what business needs are to be addressed by the training, and how the outcomes will be measured.

For example, if the business is growing rapidly, managers are likely to need a different set of skills and behaviours to those working in a business that is in a process of retrenchment and restructuring.

Once the skills and behaviours needed by the business have been identified, a programme of interventions can developed that will equip the different levels of leader within the business with the much needed new skills and behaviours

Consideration should given as to whether the interventions are best delivered to teams of managers from across the business, or whether a modular programme is more appropriate which managers can ‘buy into’ where they have an identified need

Also, it is important to recognise that some managers may have specific development needs that are best addressed via 1 to 1 support either from their line manager, a mentor or perhaps an external coach.

The timing of the leadership programme is key too. If the business tries to force it into a manager’s schedule at a particularly busy time of year (e.g. in the rush up to Christmas), then it is likely to be resisted at best or rejected at worst.

It is also critical to ensure that mechanisms are in place to reinforce the managers learning and help them to put into practice what they have learned.

Finally, once complete the business should evaluate what impact the programme has had on each of the managers’ skills, performance and behaviour and how that has benefitted the business.