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Essential elements of successful leadership development

In today’s rapidly changing business environment, it’s essential for leaders to keep the pace. There’s now a need for new skills and knowledge to assist leaders in navigating the ever-changing landscape. So, are leadership development programs the key to staying relevant?

The obvious answer might be ‘yes’. However, according to Deloitte’s latest Global Human Capital Trends survey, current learning and development programs are struggling when it comes to equipping today’s professionals with skills for the future.

It’s vital then that forward-thinking managers and leaders carefully inspect the components of a program before investing their time and efforts. After all, the modern business environment is all about agility – wasting time on the wrong program can be costly.

If you’re looking for the right development program, here are three essential ingredients:

Development to lead yourself

Before any progress can happen, leaders must first be prepared to accept that they need it. In an environment of fast-paced change, leaders can’t afford to get trapped in what is called ‘functional stupidity’ or the compliance with the established norms without questioning if it is still the right thing to do.

Good leadership development programs must challenge a leader to shift their thinking, venture out of their comfort zone and learn to improve themselves before they can help others.

Development to lead others

Part of the shift leaders experience in today’s business environment is the focus on soft-skills. As workers in this digital age become accustomed to receiving information instantly and dynamically, they start to form the same expectation when it comes to workplace communications.

Leading others is now much more than merely handing out instructions, it’s about inspiring action. Gaining the skills to inspire, motivate communicate and collaborate is critical for a good leadership development program.

Development to lead the organisation

Finally, development must address an organisational goal to be effective. The downfall of many programs is that they rest heavily on theories and lack practical application.

The best leadership development programs are ones that equip participants to respond to situations already in progress in the workplace. This helps the learnings really stick, as the results will also build trust in the development received.

Furthermore, programs customised to organisational needs, lead to a good pay off in your leadership development investment. That’s because it builds loyalty and reduces the risk that you have developed a leader who leaves the company straight away.


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