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Building Strong Foundations: Leadership Training for New Leaders

Andrew Langat
February 19, 2024
 New leaders in a training session, learning essential leadership skills and strategies.
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The giant Sequoia is among the tallest and heaviest trees in the world, reaching an impressive average height of 91 meters(300 feet). The strong foundation of a vast root system makes this possible, enabling it to rise to this remarkable height and shield it against the elements.

The Sequoia offers the perfect analogy for leaders aiming to rise to the top. You need to build a strong foundation that will enable you to form an unshakable foundation for success as you rise in leadership.

This is vital because, at the end of the day, developing leadership potential in person isn't about luck or chance.

One way of doing this is enrolling participants in a leadership training course tailored for leadership development that covers key leadership topics, including future leadership skills needed to navigate the changing reality of business and people management practices.

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Essential Skills to Train for New Leaders: Key topics to learn

Essential skills to train for new leaders

Young leaders need to enroll in leadership training that offers practical tools to build a strong foundation that they can use to enhance team performance and understand the purpose of leadership, goal-setting techniques, management skills, and leadership values, among others.

Some of the key topics towards this goal include:

1. Communication skills: Mastering Clear, Concise, and Confident Delivery

Effective communication underpins everything a leader does. It lets a leader properly articulate vision, motivate your team, build trust, and navigate complex situations. This encompasses both written and verbal communication, as well as active listening.

Example: When delivering a presentation, instead of using jargon and dense slides, use precise language, visuals, and storytelling to capture your audience's attention and ensure your message resonates.

Take the example of Whitney Wolfe Herd, the founder of Bumble and co-founder of Tinder. As an astute communicator, she has clearly articulated the vision that enabled her to become the youngest woman to take a company public.

Why does communication matter for New leaders?

  • 73% of employees believe effective communication is the most critical leadership quality. (Source: Gallup, 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report)
  • Leaders who communicate effectively are 4.3 times more likely to inspire their teams. (Source: Zenger Folkman, 2022 Global Leadership Effectiveness Study)
  • Companies with highly engaged employees see 21% higher profits than those with low engagement. (Source: Gallup, 2022 State of the Global Workplace Report)

2. Motivation: Inspiring and Empowering Your Team

Great leaders and managers understand how to create an enabling environment where team members feel valued, motivated, and empowered to be their best version.

As one of the vital leadership skills, this involves understanding each team member's unique needs, setting and managing expectations, providing regular feedback and recognition, and fostering a sense of purpose.

Example: Some ways of motivating your team include recognizing team members — publicly or privately — for their achievements, celebrating milestones, and offering opportunities for professional development, which can significantly boost motivation, focus, and engagement among participants.

Why effective leaders understand the role of motivation

  • 70% of employees say they would leave their jobs for a company that invests in their development. (Source: LinkedIn Learning, 2023 Workplace Learning Report)
  • Employees who feel recognized for their contributions are 25% more likely to stay with their company. (Source: BambooHR, 2023 State of the Employee Experience Report)
  • Companies with a strong culture of recognition have 12% higher employee engagement. (Source: Achievers, 2022 Employee Recognition Report)

3. Delegation: Assigning Tasks Effectively and Building Trust

Delegation is a critical leadership skill for team leaders that allows you to leverage your team's strengths and free up your time for strategic thinking.

The cornerstone of delegation is choosing the right tasks for the right people, providing clear instructions, empowering them with autonomy, and offering support, guidance, and feedback.

Example: Instead of micromanagement— which often reduces morale and motivation — assign tasks based on individual strengths and interests. Moreover, provide clear instructions and deadlines and offer support while allowing space for independent problem-solving.

This is why delegation matters in the workplace:

  • Leaders who delegate effectively spend 33% more time on strategic activities. (Source: Harvard Business Review, 2021)
  • Empowered employees are 20% more productive than those who feel micromanaged. (Source: Gallup, 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report)
  • Only 40% of employees feel they have the autonomy to do their best work. (Source: Gallup, 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report)

4. Building Your Strategic Thinking Muscle

Strategic thinking allows you to see the big picture, enabling a leader to anticipate future challenges and make informed decisions that benefit your team and organization. This makes it a vital component of a leadership program that new leaders need to develop.

Building strategic thinking muscle involves analyzing information, identifying trends, using strategies and action planning, and adapting your approach to changing circumstances.

Example: Regularly conducting SWOT analyses to assess your team's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It can also involve monitoring industry trends and competitor activity and encourage team members to contribute diverse perspectives without fear of victimization.

Why does this matter for new leaders?

  • Companies with strong strategic planning outperform their competitors by 130%. (Source: Harvard Business Review, 2022)
  • Only 14% of employees say their leaders effectively communicate the organization's strategy. (Source: Deloitte, 2023 Global Human Capital Trends Report)
  • Organizations that invest in strategic planning see a 20% increase in employee engagement. (Source: Bersin by Deloitte, 2022 High-Impact Learning report)

5. Continuous Learning and Development

The business world constantly evolves, and new leaders must be committed to lifelong learning and development to remain effective.

This involves staying up-to-date on industry trends, enrolling in coaching programs, acquiring new skills, seeking feedback, and actively participating in learning and career development opportunities.

Example: Regularly read industry publications and attend relevant conferences, work with an executive or leadership coach, explore online training opportunities, live online, actively seek feedback from mentors, direct reports, or trusted colleagues, and participate in training courses and programs offered by your organization.

Why this matters:

  • Employees who feel their company invests in their development are 21% more likely to be highly engaged. (Source: Gallup, 2023 State of the Global Workplace Report)
  • Companies that invest in employee training see a 21% increase in profitability. (Source: LinkedIn Learning, 2023 Workplace Learning Report)
  • Leaders committed to learning are X 7% more likely to inspire their teams. (Source: Center for Creative Leadership, 2022 Leadership Development Trends report)

6. Emotional Intelligence and Self-Awareness

Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to understand and manage your own emotions, as well as the feelings of others. Self-awareness is the foundation of a person with EQ and involves recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, values and biases, and how they impact your interactions with others.

Many courses offer this critical component of leadership skills, which is a crucial component of leadership development.

Many leadership training programs offer courses specifically designed to develop EQ and self-awareness. Leaders with high EQ can:

Example: Deep learning about practicing mindfulness and reflection to increase self-awareness, actively seek feedback from diverse perspectives, and engage in activities that improve emotional regulation and empathy.

Why is emotional intelligence and self-awareness important?

  • Leaders with high EQ are 89% more likely to outperform their peers. (Source: TalentSmart, 2022 Emotional Intelligence 2.0 report)
  • Companies with emotionally intelligent leaders see a 12% increase in employee engagement. (Source: Hay Group, 2012 Emotional Intelligence 2.0 report)
  • Self-aware leaders are 20% more likely to be rated high performers by their teams. (Source: Zenger Folkman, 2022 Global Leadership Effectiveness Study)

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Why Strong Foundations Matter for New Leaders

Using the Sequoia tree analogy, as a new leader aiming to rise to the very top and hopefully lead a Fortune 500 company in your career, you need to expand your leadership skills and establish solid foundations.

Why does this matter?

A strong foundation matters for new managers and leaders in new leadership roles. When you rise to a leadership position, you will be judged by the results - no, if, or buts.

Show weaknesses or fail to meet set goals, and you will quickly be replaced by others waiting in the leadership pipeline.

Here is why strong foundations matter for developing new leaders.

1. Helps in Building Trust and Credibility

Trust and credibility are the cornerstones of leadership success as they make leading easier.

As a new leader, when you exhibit clear values, behaviors, and consistent behavior in your leadership role, you quickly earn the respect of your team.

Take the example of Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft: After taking over, Nadella focused on rebuilding trust and fostering a collaborative culture. This attribute was slowly getting eroded in the company culture.

His emphasis on empathy, humility, and inclusivity led to a significant turnaround in employee morale and satisfaction, the hallmark of transformational leadership.

As a result, Microsoft became a magnet for top talent, driving innovation and propelling the company's success with stock price increasing to up to 1000%.

This foundation allows them to inspire and motivate others, creating a more positive and productive environment that enables effective leadership. Trust in leadership is a rare commodity in the workplace, and obtaining this from your team is particularly important for new managers.

2. Provides Stability and Direction

Leadership transitions can be unsettling; for example, leading high-performing teams where you get challenged on your decisions can throw you off your feet if you are unprepared.

For new leaders, having strong leadership development makes one prepared for such scenarios.

With a well-defined vision, mission, and clear goals, new senior leaders can provide stability and direction, guiding their team through change and uncertainty.

A company needs stability for the following reasons: for organizational agility and resilience, to foster trust, and to preserve consistency and mission.

3. Enhances Decision-Making

A strong foundation helps leaders approach challenges with confidence and clarity. For new managers, how they make initial decisions matters and can set the pace for future management decisions.

This is vital as leadership and decision-making are intertwined.

For example, a leader may be required to set direction, solve problems, delegate to their team members, allocate resources, and maintain morale and motivation. These are usually fast passed decisions best made with prior experience, but this is not the rule.

A new leader learns the decision-making stages by working with a coach or other leadership training initiatives.

This allows leaders to make ethical and effective decisions for themselves and their team.

4. Fosters Effective Communication

Organizations thrive on effective communication, which enables management to navigate challenges that come their way in the day-to-day management of their organization.

Open and honest communication is crucial for leaders who want to lead their organization effectively. This is one of the most valuable skills new leaders must master.

A strong foundation based on honesty, transparency practices, and active listening allows new leaders to build strong relationships with their teams, facilitating effective communication and collaboration.

5. Enables Continuous Growth

By establishing a culture of learning and development from the start, new leaders encourage and support personal and professional growth for themselves and their team.

This foundation of continuous improvement ensures the team adapts and thrives in the face of changing circumstances.

Continuous growth sets the tempo and enables the organization to retain the best staff. For example, according to a study by Edume, 94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in their career development, and 86% of employees believe it’s important for employers to provide learning opportunities.

In addition, a report by Smartcat found that 86% of HR managers believe training aids in retention, and 83% said recruitment tools are to thank. Furthermore, a study by WorkRamp found that retention rates rise 30-50% for companies with strong learning cultures.

Inspiring, isn’t it ? Want to learn more about connecting self-awareness to professional development? Get in touch today.

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Let Highrise Shape your Leadership Foundation

At Highrise, we offer a strong leadership foundation through our 6-Month Highrise Leader Impact Program, which includes group leadership development sessions, peer accountability sessions, behavioral assessments, skills development workshops, and access to a community of peers.

This program aims to provide leaders with the tools and support to adapt to the rapidly changing business landscape and prioritize continuous learning.

Sign up today and experience the transformative journey of our full program.

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Andrew Langat
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Andrew Langat is an experienced content specialist in Leadership, Productivity, Education, Fintech, and Research. He is an avid reader and loves swimming as a hobby. He believes that quality content should be actionable and helpful.