Is Your Leadership Development Program Working? 6 Questions to Consider

By Robert Half on July 7, 2014 at 7:00am

A strong pool of potential leaders is the lifeblood of any organization. As a manager, developing successful leadership training is – or should be – a very real priority. But what happens if your leadership development efforts are falling short? And how do you even know if they’re in trouble?

It’s time to reassess and find out what may be derailing your leadership development efforts. Start by asking these six key questions about your organization:

1. Who are you picking?

Some people want to be leaders. Others may not. And not all of your most likely candidates are your current top performers.

Leadership development is the growing and nurturing of people at any level of the organization who have what you believe to be leadership potential. The ability to positively influence others and deliver clear results along with an upbeat attitude, resilience to setbacks and strong communication skills are all indicative of a potential leader.

2. Is your organization prioritizing leadership training?

Mentoring, coaching, special projects and formal education are all routes to developing future leaders. Are you paying sufficient attention to all of them? Give future leaders the time they need to participate in learning opportunities. Encourage them to share those experiences and then implement what they’ve learned. It will be time well spent for all parties involved.

3. Are you continually gauging effectiveness?

There’s no substitute for ongoing feedback. Ask potential leaders you are grooming if they feel they’re progressing and enjoying the process. Are they using what they are learning in their leadership training?

Also talk to senior managers who have worked with those in your company's leadership development program. Do they feel these candidates are well on their way to becoming effective leaders? What gauge are they using to determine this? Encourage them to try to measure success in terms of retention and employee engagement within their respective teams. 

4. Are you keeping them happy?

Are developing leaders being rewarded for their accomplishments? Are the incentives you’re using still appropriate and effective?

You certainly don’t want to invest time in leadership development and training only to have the talent you’re growing jump ship. Ensure that things like compensation are up to snuff. Salary isn't the only factor determining your employees’ satisfaction on the job, but it is unquestionably key in convincing your best people to stay on board.

5. Are you owning up to error?

No one bats a thousand. If you happen to assign someone to a leadership post who doesn’t work out, acknowledge the issue and don’t let the situation get worse. If there are serious flaws that prevent candidates from being successful, be upfront with them.

6. Are you using outside leadership development resources?

There are excellent outside resources for leadership development training out there, such as e-learning and executive education seminars, so don’t be afraid to enlist some help. Just be sure to employ them selectively.

Simply put, constantly engaging potential leaders will help you foster loyalty to the company and thereby create a reliable pipeline of talent.

How is your organization doing this? Share your experiences below.

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