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The 5 things you need in your leadership training

How much attention are you paying to leadership training within your organisation? In many companies, managers learn a lot of what they need to know while on the job. But if you want to encourage great leadership, you need to provide effective leadership training
Kerrie-Anne Chinn, Content & Editorial Manager

How much attention are you paying to leadership training within your organisation? In many companies, managers learn a lot of what they need to know while on the job. But if you want to encourage great leadership, you need to provide effective leadership training. In this way, you can help empower managers with the tools they need to succeed in today’s complex business environments.

Ray Carvey, Executive VP of Corporate Learning at Harvard Business Publishing, says that the focus of leadership training now must be on “preparing leaders to anticipate what’s coming next so they are ready to act. They must be plugged into their customers, competitors and markets, and be comfortable making decisions, even in the face of ambiguity.”

Here are five things you need to include in your leadership training, to encourage strong and positive leadership in your organisation.

Developing a leadership mindset

Kathy Caprino, writing for Forbes, believes that developing a leadership mindset must be the first step in any leadership training.

Caprino says that “to evolve as leaders, managers have to internalize the idea that leadership is fundamentally different from managing tasks.” While being an effective manager certainly involves managing tasks and duties well, being a great leader requires an understanding of how to behave and “show up.”

A truly great leader is someone who is “capable of articulating a powerful, positive and compelling vision for organizational and individual growth, and who can generate the trust and support needed to execute on this vision,” she says.

Make sure your leadership training program focuses on helping managers to achieve that shift in mindset, allowing them to bring those elements to their role.

Leadership training within the context of your organisation

To be effective, leadership training needs to focus on real business outcomes, within the context of your organisation.

Leadership training shouldn’t look the same in every organisation. When it comes to learning, “getting it right in the context of your organization’s needs is what makes it relevant, meaningful and sticky,” Caprino says.

For example, the way in which managers make decisions at a startup in a high-growth industry is going to be quite different from decision-making at a 100-year-old organisation in an established market.

Look at your own leadership training program. Is it relevant to the context of your own business needs and outcomes?

Foster a culture of learning

It’s also essential for today’s leaders to promote a culture of learning, with senior leaders proactively involved in encouraging learning and development.

Anyone who is in a management role is in an exciting position to lead the way in improving professional development in their workplace. Good leaders know that professional development is integral to the success of any company, creating a more positive work culture and better business results overall.

One of the best ways to promote a positive learning culture is by incorporating mentoring into your leadership training program. Mentoring presents many benefits for organisations, including increased knowledge sharing, improved skill sets and the opportunity for constructive feedback and support.

Knowing how and when to delegate

As we said above, anticipating change and being ready to act is crucial when it comes to being a successful leader. And knowing how to delegate is a large component of this.

Leaders need to act as change agents, driving transformation within their organisation. Strong leaders know that they can't realistically be involved in every single day-to-day task while still maintaining focus on building and leading the business.

Delegation is an essential skill that must be included in any leadership training program. It requires trusting employees, knowledge sharing, and effective communication, which also help to reinforce a culture of learning across organisations.

Improving emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is also critical to leadership success. Often overlooked when compared to more technical skills, your level of emotional intelligence (or EQ) has a huge impact on your leadership abilities.

Emotional intelligence is defined as the ability to monitor your own and others’ feelings and emotions, and to use this information to guide your thinking and actions. It helps you to be more comfortable and competent in handling conflict, performing well under pressure, making difficult decisions, and communicating well with others – all very important skills when it comes to leading and managing teams!

Fionnuala Courtney, Director at PulseLearning, says that “at its primal level, leadership is about understanding your people emotionally.”

So it's well worth making sure that emotional intelligence is included in today's leadership training programs. Unlike intellect, emotional intelligence can be developed and expanded, meaning managers can learn to improve their EQ levels and successfully apply it to their leadership role.

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