Why should you invest in leadership skills across the wider workforce?
Leadership expert, Jack Zenger, found that on average managers have been supervising people for nine years before taking part in any kind of formal leadership training. This is a significant amount of time for someone to take sole responsibility for their own managerial development.
If an organisation is this late in implementing leadership training with existing managers, what hope is there for emerging leaders and rising stars?
“Think of the advantages to be gained by beginning some formal leadership development activity at an earlier age, rather than waiting for nearly a decade to begin.” Jack Zenger states. Are you starting too late?
Providing the opportunity for all employees to develop their leadership skills has many benefits, including:
1. Nurturing talent
Leadership training can help upcoming managers form good leadership habits and hone their skills. They also have time to practice before being put in charge of large teams.
2. Increased staff retention
Rising stars are less likely to become frustrated and ‘jump ship’ if they feel there is an investment in their development and future. They also have a clearer path to rise through the ranks.
3. Increases and creates consistent standards
Investment in leadership training can help to create or drive up the organisation’s standards and values, as well as help the next generation of leaders to gain confidence and fulfil their potential faster.
4. Desirable skills for anyone
What are the leadership skills? Problem-solving, team working, decision making and strategic thinking are all high on the list of the qualities of a good leader. But these are also desirable skills for any employee, particularly those working in companies where innovation and creativity are important for overall success.
5. Everyone recognises good leadership
If all employees have the opportunity to experience some level of leadership training, they are more likely to understand what good leadership looks like, and even challenge poor managers. This, in turn, can help raise internal standards because there is a greater expectation on leaders and they are more likely to be held accountable.
6. Identify hidden talents
Organisations may have a system for spotting potential management candidates, but sometimes great leaders can be overlooked. Allowing the wider workforce to engage in leadership training increases the chance of identifying hidden leadership talents which may otherwise go unnoticed.
Cost is the obvious barrier to making leadership training available across an organisation. It is not practical to send employees on face-to-face training courses or make them sit practical and theory examinations.
However, online training provides the opportunity for leadership training (or any form of training) to be available across the whole organisation or to specific people, divisions and departments, at a fraction of the cost.
Much of what makes an outstanding leader is learnt on the job, generally in moments of stress and uncertainty, but having some templates and principles to fall back on will give people a distinct advantage.