The need for effective leadership is obvious, yet it seems training and development programs focused on cultivating new generations of leaders are not typically allocated sufficient investment.

This is also begs the question: when the time comes for mid-management level employees to step up, are traditional onboarding programs enough to thoroughly integrate a new leader?

With the leadership gap becoming a very real problem for many long-standing businesses globally, Leadership Development is becoming the one thing many organizations cannot afford not to invest in.

The Leadership Gap

It’s apparent in many organizations that leadership teams are dominated by members of the baby-boomer generation. But as these workers begin to retire and talent management within the workplace remains a prominent struggle, the leadership gap is a growing concern.

The gap appears in many modern organizations whose remaining workforce is primarily made up of entry-level or newly graduated millennial’s who are not yet well prepared for leadership responsibilities once their current managers retire or move on.

Bridging the Gap

Talent retention is becoming a top priority for Learning & Development teams as leaders come to realize the expense of replacing an employee is often a lot more than the cost of equipping managers with the appropriate training.

But this goes beyond rudimentary team-building exercises. We’re talking about providing your emerging leaders with effective training so that they are equipped with the ability to manage people to perform.

Building an effective Leadership Development program means far more than simply curating seemingly relevant content and attaching an end-of-module quiz to the end.

There are a few things you must consider if you are to create successful courses. We’ve noted some of them down here:

Identify your leadership needs

For your Leadership Development program to be successful, you must first outline the current gaps in skills your organizations has or may lack in time to come – for example, when your current leaders retired what attributes of theirs would be missed? Alternatively, what elements do you think are lacking in your more advanced leaders that could be resolved with someone younger?

Consider both your short-term and long-term goals. What are you wanting to achieve in the next six months to a year? These need to be addressed in order to ensure you have the right leadership team behind you to see this happen.

Discover potential leaders

Let’s be real. Not everyone is built to become a leader and this is something you must take into consideration.

A common mistake made by many organizations is the assumption that top-performing employees are the ones best-suited to leadership roles – this isn’t always the case. Whilst someone may have excelled in their current role, it certainly does not mean they will thus evolve into a leader for the business.

By offering Leadership Development to employees who demonstrate an interest, you open yourselves up to numerous potential leaders you might not have considered otherwise, but who thrive in their new role.

Measure the results

With any training and development program you implement within your organization, you must first determine how you will measure its success. After all, if you don’t, how will you know if your development strategies are having any kind of impact or if they’re worth the investment you’re putting in?

With a little help the Experience API (xAPI), you have access to a whole range of useful data. Track your learners’ progress, pass/fail rates, completion rates and connect your learning outcomes to business objectives.

And whether you ask for employee feedback following a course, observe the application (or indeed absence) of newly acquired skills after training, or calculate the Return on Investment (ROI), you must understand where you development plan is succeeding and where it needs some improvement.

As well as developing your prospective leaders, any training course you implement is an opportunity to ensure your workforce are well equipped for their role.

If you’d like to learn more about Leadership Development and how to create meaningful learning experiences, download the HT2 Labs Guide to Learning Experience Platforms.

About the Author

Libby joined the HT2 Labs team as a Digital Communications Officer in June 2018, having graduated from the University of Winchester with a degree in Media and Communications (BA Hons).

Libby enjoys all things health and fitness related and you’ll often find her satisfying her wanderlust by jet-setting across the globe.