Leadership development is growing across many industries. A wide variety of organizations are beginning to acknowledge that developing leaders internally has many benefits, from reducing the time and cost involved in recruiting to improving the retention of existing talent.
But when it comes to implementing leadership development programs, businesses often struggle to decide where the responsibility for development lies. Recent research from Business Linked Teams found that while 92 percent of organizations currently have a leadership program in place, many lack a cohesive approach and struggle with the practicalities of rolling out leadership programs. Deciding where the responsibility of leadership development lies is one of the more significant challenges, as it is often segmented between business leads and line managers.
Professionals are divided when it comes to whether training or business leaders should be responsible for creating leadership strategy and identifying leadership candidates. In reality, learning leaders and line managers should work together to develop cohesive and effective leadership development programs. Here are three practical actions to enable collaboration in the implementation of a leadership development program.
1. Create a Cross-functional Group
By establishing a cross-functional steering group, comprised of representatives from all areas of the business, you can more easily define the training needed based on each member of the group’s first-hand knowledge of the leaders in his or her function. The group can also work together to ensure that the learning content is aligned to business goals and decide who will provide support throughout the design, implementation and review phases of the training program development.
2. Define Competency Frameworks
Competency models or frameworks are the result of the analysis of job roles and the knowledge, skills and abilities required to be able to do the job successfully. Using competency frameworks to define the content of a leadership development program is important. If you are clear about the jobs that people are required to do and the precise level to which they need to perform, it becomes easier to develop training that will address the gaps and to measure success of the program afterward.
3. Leverage Internal Expertise in Program Delivery
Many organizations acknowledge that an external training provider can help deliver level of leadership training they need. What they often don’t realize is that they can amplify the impact of training when relevant internal experts contribute, too. Involving people from all functions is important. In practical terms, it could mean inviting subject matter experts to training sessions to deliver short presentations, share stories and experiences, or answer questions. It could even be as simple as ensuring that line managers provide structured coaching around the program itself.
When it comes to implementing leadership development programs, businesses should take into account the tension over where the responsibility for those programs should lie. By following these steps, you can ensure successful leadership development through stronger collaboration.