Between the many emails, meetings, and random tasks that have not yet made it on a “to do” list, continuing to enhance your skills as a leader can be a difficult area to give focus. Whether you are responsible for developing yourself, or yourself and leaders in your company, having a plan to stay fresh on your professional skills needs to be at the top of your “to do” list rather than an after-thought.
Leadership begins with a natural or adopted desire to serve others by taking responsibility for creating and delivering on a high level of quality. Leaders share their quality vision throughout their teams and organizations to bring clarity to how quality will be achieved throughout the business’ operations. Taking time to develop a training program helps ensure you’ll accomplish the expression of quality and that you’ll do so consistently across all points of leadership.
With the motive for training firm, leadership development programs are most successful when they include the following simple elements.
1). Leadership requires adaptability and so should your training programs
Circumstances change every day and require leadership agility in order to assess the situation, evaluate options, and determine the best course of action. The most effective leadership training programs are not rigid rather they allow for the flexibility to change message as the company and leaders grow. One way to ensure your training is on point is to ask the receivers of the training about their biggest challenges. Develop relationships with sister organizations and understand what their key challenges and training approaches are. Review the training and challenges consistent across your industry. Taking inspiration from these 3 sources will help you identify consistent themes that likely need training focus.
2). Make training a scheduled priority and it will get done
Develop and commit to a schedule for monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, and annual training as appropriate for your business. The content of the training will change with each session but scheduling the training ensures it’s on the calendar and time is set aside to accomplish it. Set aside 8-16 hour increments to minimize distractions and ensure your team blocks off full days for training.
3). Bring in experts to get the best results
Once you know the when and what of the training consider the best sources of information on the key topics. Involve team members knowledgeable on the subjects as well as outside consultants and teachers. This is one of the many areas where BBD can help. We develop customized and out-of-the box training on a variety of relevant leadership skills and practices. Bringing in outside expects can help bring a fresh perspective to your training and helps increase information retention.
4). Evaluate, ask for feedback and incorporate the learnings
At the end of each training sessions, make sure you have a method of collecting feedback from the training participants. Be open to the information you receive and consider ways to further improve the subject and execution of your training. Your team will enjoy feeling that you were open to hearing their opinion and will feel like they have more invested in the training. Monitor if the training is effective by establishing metrics for its impact. Metrics should be measurable and relevant to your team specifically. If you are training as an individual, perform your own review of the information you received and document your thoughts on the benefits. Is the training beneficial? Do you feel more prepared than you did prior to the training?
While you are working on training for yourself and your team, consider ways of getting outside of your norm to get new insights on a consistent basis. Look for training events, webinars and luncheons that fit with your needs and schedule. If you are in the Minnesota area, attend our next LIFT event. Visit to get the details and to register http://beyondbbd.com/lift-events/. While you are at it, seek out additional reading and resources to further expand your knowledge of training techniques and approaches available to you as well. You might start by checking out 5 Ways to Train Yourself to be a great leader.