What Is A Leadership Development Programme? (With Benefits)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 7 September 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

A leadership development programme is an important tool for developing future leaders in an organisation. These leaders may typically come from the middle management of a company, to groom them to take up roles with higher responsibility in the future. If you work in the top management at a company and want to implement a leadership development programme for the middle management or are going to be a part of one yourself, it is important for you to understand what it is and how it may benefit you, your team or the company.

In this article, we find out the answer to the question 'What is a leadership development programme?', share its benefits and learn about its major elements.

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What Is A Leadership Development Programme?

The answer to the question 'What is a leadership development programme?' is that it is a training programme aimed at preparing select employees of an organisation to become senior leaders in the near term. These programmes usually take up high-potential employees and provide them with the required training, mentorship and exposure and access to the top management so that they can learn how these leaders operate. It is important that these programmes are dynamic and somewhat personalised in nature, as the learning requirements are likely to differ for each individual that may undertake such a programme.

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Benefits Of A Leadership Development Programme

Here are some of the major benefits of a leadership development programme:

1. Helps in improving the bottom-line

When organisations have leadership development programmes in place, they are more likely to see an improvement in their bottom line. This is because such a programme helps in developing more leaders within the organisation and there is a better chance that these leaders can overcome complex business challenges appropriately to meet organisational objectives successfully. Such programmes also ensure that employees feel valued and see a future for themselves in the company.

Such employees are more likely to work with determination and can consequently improve their overall productivity. Having motivated and happy employees is also helpful in reducing the attrition rate of an organisation and saves the expenditure on regularly hiring new employees. This also contributes to a robust bottom line.

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2. Assists in retaining top talent

When employees know that a company is investing in their development and is looking to promote them to leadership positions in the future, they are more likely to stay with such a company for a longer period. The companies also benefit because they get in-house leaders who know about the workings of the company extensively. This also reduces disruptions in teams and projects that usually occur when someone leaves and then the new hires undergo the necessary training and introduction during the initial phases of their tenure.

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3. Helps in nurturing able leaders

The primary focus of a leadership development programme is to nurture able leaders within an organisation. Hiring from outside for leadership positions is an option which companies often use extensively, but such leaders may require sufficient time in the organisation to learn about the operations and culture. In-house leaders are already aware of these aspects of the business and because of this, the learning duration is shorter and the companies can often get immediate results with such an appointment.

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4. Improves chances of navigating through changes successfully

When an organisation has multiple employees available who can transition to a leadership position as and when required, then this improves the capability of the organisation to handle sudden changes in the market and industry. A senior leader may suddenly leave the company or a new merger or the development of a new product may require a new leader at a short notice. In such situations, having a leadership option within the organisation helps organisations overcome these challenges better successfully.

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5. Improves strategic execution capabilities

Strategising and executing the developed strategies is a key part of leadership development programmes. When organisations provide opportunities to their employees to learn these aspects of business operations, then such employees are usually in a better position to execute the organisation's strategies. This improves the overall operational efficiency of the organisation and also has a positive impact on financial performance.

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The Major Elements In A Leadership Development Programme

Some of the major elements that make up a successful leadership development programme are:

1. Coaching

It is important that all employees undergoing the leadership development programme have a coach or a mentor to work with. These coaches or mentors can be from the top management of the organisation. The employees then get exposure to the working of the top managers in their company. Because of this, they can ask them the questions they may have, which can improve their capabilities to work in a similar capacity in the future.

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2. Accountability

As a leader, it is very important that you can hold others accountable for their actions and also take accountability for the decisions you make. It is important that leaders can send across the message that each individual in their teams is accountable. The simplest way to encourage such a culture is by showing accountability for your actions in front of your teammates.

It is also important that your teammates can express their opinions and pursue new ideas. So make sure the accountability that you expect from others comes from the knowledge mistakes may happen while innovating. It is important they understand that new ideas and opinions are welcome and are accountable for the results they achieve.

3. Change management

Change management is an important component of the daily responsibilities of any modern corporate leader. This makes it essential that a leadership development programme incorporates the various concepts of change management. In any organisation, changes may happen at any time. Top leaders can leave, organisational restructuring may take place or the company may decide to change their strategy for any reason. Such situations require that the senior and middle management can manage such changes effectively.

4. Negotiation and influence

As a leader, the ability to influence others and negotiate in tough situations is very important to be successful. It is important that you negotiate in a way that creates value for all the parties concerned. When you can influence others in the right manner or negotiate appropriately, you may better resolve difficult situations appropriately and this can lead to positive sentiments within your team or the organisation.

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5. Communication

It is very important for leaders to communicate with their team members to provide them with guidance and keep them motivated. This makes communication an integral part of a leadership development programme. As a leader, it is important you communicate with absolute clarity and there is no room for misinterpretation.

It is also important that you maintain the correct balance between assertiveness and respectability. You want to make sure that your team members listen to you. It is important that others believe you are going to listen to them when they come to you with suggestions, ideas or questions. This also includes ensuring that the participants understand the importance of active listening and how it can benefit them in understanding and resolving issues and increasing communication efficiency.

6. Clear goals

It is important for these programmes to have a clear roadmap to ensure imparting the essential skills and knowledge to the participants. This can include creating a measurable scale of success. Often, employees prefer to gain practical skills they may implement in their day-to-day duties. It is also important that the programmes aim to help the individuals to gain confidence in their professional proficiency and increase their performance efficiency in the near- to long-term.

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