The Need for Leadership Development: 5 Key Reasons

Five years after the start of the recession there are positive signs of recovery in many industries; in others, the recovery is limping along. Regardless of the economic landscape, smart companies know that developing leaders in their organization is key to building and sustaining success. An effective leadership development program can include a mentor program, development of high potentials, core leadership skills for all managers, 360 degree feedback program with consistent follow-through, or one-on-one executive coaching. The best companies utilize all of these approaches to develop their leaders.

Here are 5 key reasons why your company needs to invest in a leadership development and training program.

1. Attract and Retain Good Employees

If a business has an established leadership development and training program, they are more likely to attract better talent in the first place and retain their existing employees. Every employee, regardless of their job title, wants to feel valued. Implementing a 360 degree feedback program where everyone can freely provide and receive feedback without fear of reprisals, helps to build trust with your employees. They will feel that their opinion is valuable and their concerns are heard, thus making it less likely they would look for a job elsewhere to feel validated.

Avoid the assumption that because of economic challenges in the past few years people are just happy to have a job. Recruiters are starting to see more resumes.  In our work with companies using  engagement surveys, employees are increasingly desirous of having a voice in the direction their team, department or company is taking.

2. Be the Leader to Develop the Leaders

Most people want to improve, but they may not know how to go about it. If they see inspiring leaders in the workplace, they are more likely to follow that positive example. Besides, how are people going to understand the importance of taking responsibility for developing their leadership skills if the company senior leadership doesn’t make it a priority at that level? The office environment can be confusing and difficult to navigate, so it’s important for businesses to show their employees a path to development and moving up the ladder. The majority of employees don’t know how or where to start to make positive changes in their career. Be the leader in developing leaders by showing them the way. This is one of the top three issues in most engagement surveys – lack of a clear career path.

3. It Shows You Care

Millions of people lost their jobs during the recession and, while companies are beginning to hire again, it’s hard for people to believe their employer truly cares about them. Show them you care by investing in their future. Create a mentor program or other leadership development program to signal to your employees that there is a future for the company and you want them to be a part of it. Talk to them about the vision and goals for the company, explain how they are the key to that success, and then develop their leadership skills. They will feel a strong sense of belonging, trust and excitement when you show you care.

4. Thriving Instead of Simply Surviving

If you’re not developing your people you aren’t thriving, you’re merely surviving by waiting for a better time. Survival mindset is characterized by dependence on someone else to “rescue” them. Companies that thrive in the marketplace are constantly looking for a better solution and proactively developing their people to be a part of that solution. Now is the time to start moving forward and training your employees with better leadership skills – this is a key part of shifting out of survival mode.

5. Improved Performance = Improved Productivity

By including your employees in a leadership program, they become more self-aware about their skills as well as how to interact with those around them. This fosters better relationships, improved communication and a more positive workplace environment culminating in a better bottom line. It all comes down to dollars and cents. Do you want to increase employee productivity to improve the bottom line? Leadership development and training programs have repeatedly shown to increase employee productivity and improve results.

The need for leadership development is more critical now than ever with the aging of the baby boomers and a need for smart succession planning. Companies need to start shifting into a proactive path to success by implementing comprehensive leadership development programs. Your board members, employees and bottom line will be glad you did.