How to develop leadership skills in your employees

By Robert Half on 14 May 2022

Let's face it. The cost of leadership training is often high and often at great expense to the company.

While the returns on such an investment may sometimes be intangible, the investment into leadership training and development can still add value to the company if employees take away new skills or renew their sense of belonging and loyalty to the company.

But this can all depend on how you organise the training of staff.

Here are five tips on how you can make the most effective leadership training worth the investment.

1. Make leadership skills training a regular affair

Companies need to identify knowledge gaps and address them with training programs that are targeted and tailor-made to an employee’s schedule and work activity.

Aim to have training sessions on a weekly or bi-monthly basis, as opposed to having just a single five hour session.

Consistency improves knowledge retention in the long run and keeping it regular also promotes a pro-learning corporate culture.

Based on these regular sessions, trainers can review and give feedback based on real work performance to keep the program as relevant as possible.

This also allows you to properly track the efficacy of your leadership training programs.

2. Cross-train your staff

Cross-training empowers staff with new skills and opens up mobility within the company which improves employee retention numbers.

Cross-training is also an opportune time to invite staff to become trainers for mentoring opportunities.

After all, only they would know the requirements and demands of their roles and be able to accurately convey that to colleagues.

3. Treat your silvers like gold

Putting the focus on training for older staff can actually be an astute investment. Investing in training acknowledges and affirms their value to the company, renews motivation and increases relevance.

You can also leverage on the tenured employees in the workforce and have them mentor new staff.

The knowledge they can impart is far beyond what any corporate trainer can.

4. Learn from mistakes

Use the shortcomings from competitor companies as case studies during training.

The costly missteps of another brand can help your teams be more aware of pitfalls and avoid them in the future.

Don’t just limit the learning to a specific failed product or campaign, use the issue as a springboard for dialogues on crisis management and other relevant issues across various teams or departments.

Better yet, use this as an opportunity to help different departments get better acquainted with each other’s work functions or to cross-pollinate ideas.

5. Upgrade your managers

Managerial leadership training can take a two-prong approach – technical training and soft skills training.

Managerial staff might not be as technically skilled as their teams, but they must at least have a basic knowledge of the technical know-how to be able to lead more effectively.

Managers are the most direct leaders’ staff face on a daily basis and it takes an excellent manager to inspire high productivity yet keep staff happy and motivated.

With soft-skills training, such as those that encompass communication, coaching, conflict management, it’s possible to upgrade an average manager into a great one.

How to develop leadership skills in your employees

Continual training, education, and coaching for employees are necessary for companies to maintain progression.

It’s also a great time for all levels across the company to reboot existing skills or create new ones.

Re-evaluate your leadership training programs now, and reap the benefits for a long time to come.

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