The Importance of Leadership Development

Developing leaders at all levels has become more important than ever before. Reports from LinkedIn and DDI suggest that there is already a significant leadership gap and that it is only expected to continue to grow. As leaders from the Baby Boomer generation continue to retire, there is a growing need for millennials and younger generations to develop leadership skills.

However, traditional leadership development programs may not be the answer, as the millennial workforce is the most diverse generation in recent history. Its learners’ preferences and needs are also quite diverse.

A more effective training strategy is to use personalized learning to drive leadership development. Implementing personalized leadership development paths helps engage leaders at all levels. Here are some tips you can use to leverage personalized learning to empower the leaders at your organization.

Identify and Remove Barriers to Learning

Creating a personalized learning experience that engages individual students and every level of leader begins with identifying potential barriers to learning. The most successful leadership training programs use a blend of training methods, focusing on the ones that best meet the needs of their audience.

For example, many leaders within your organization may have busy schedules and need to collaborate or network with others. In this case, creating a training program that is both social and can eliminate distractions, such as a leadership training event, could help bridge these barriers. Identifying barriers to learning early in the training development stages will help you maximize both the effectiveness and the return on investment (ROI) of the program, creating a more personalized experience.

Create Focused Training Content

There are three major benefits to creating focused pieces of training content, or using a microlearning approach. The first is that keeping each piece of content short and centered around a single topic increases engagement. The modern employee is used to consuming short digestible pieces of content in his or her everyday life, making this format familiar and easy to engage with.

This method also helps improve knowledge retention rates. Shorter pieces of content are more memorable and help employees develop specific leadership skills before moving on to the next subject.

Finally, microlearning also enables your organization to reuse and repurpose training content in multiple ways and your employees to take only the training courses that are most relevant to them. This approach makes it easier to train leaders at different levels; whether they are senior managers looking to refresh their skills or newer, high-potential leaders, personalized learning prevents employees from taking courses that are irrelevant.

Integrate Social Learning

Whether your leadership development course is online or in a face-to-face, instructor-led format, it is important to integrate social learning components. This approach not only creates a more personalized feel to the leadership development process, but it also improves the quality of the learning experience. You can implement social learning in a number of ways, from group activities and projects to online chat tools to mentoring.

Include Just-in-time Training Materials and Resources

Engagement and knowledge retention are among the top challenges for learning and development (L&D) professionals when creating training, and leadership development is no different. One of the best ways to provide support to leaders during development is not to treat the training process as a one-time event. Providing support materials that leaders can reference after the initial training will help them retain the knowledge they gained.

Each individual may remember different points and struggle with different concepts in the course. Providing support materials, whether in short refresher videos or  printable PDFs, will meet your employees where they are in their learning journey and give them the tools they need to continue to be successful.

Provide Ongoing Support and Check-ins

Another way you can create a more effective and personal learning experience for your leaders-in-training is to encourage regular check-ins with their superior or mentor. These check-ins will give them time to address any questions or concerns they have during their development.

Giving employees more time with their managers can not only help keep them on track, but it can also help them build their confidence. During these meetings, mentors can help leaders find new ways to apply the concepts they learned on the job and give them insights that are specific to their experience.

It can also be helpful to create a way for leaders to communicate and collaborate with each other. Some organizations create online forums or events where their leadership staff can connect, enabling them to learn from and support each other.

Strengthening your leadership development initiatives with personalized learning is an excellent way to secure the future of your organization. Leaders are the driving force that promote a healthy work culture and innovation and help your company overcome challenges. Using a personalized approach to leadership development is one of the best ways you can engage and equip your employees with the skills they need to become exceptional leaders.

The workplace is becoming a more diverse place every day. Employees have different backgrounds, skills levels and learning preferences. This diversity makes it difficult to address all of their needs without losing their interest. Personalized learning enables you to create quality learning experiences for leaders at every level and unlock their true potential. To learn more about how you can use personalized learning to engage your employees, check out this e-book on personalized learning.