This article is part of The Ascender, the Highrise platform for articles and resources.

Why is Leadership Development Important?

Andrew Langat
December 21, 2022
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"Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar." - Orrin Woodward.

Leadership development builds on the argument that leaders are made and not born. Evidence shows that leadership development leads to effective leaders, as training opportunities improve leadership skills by teaching vital managerial skills.

Some of these skills include communication skills, strategic thinking, management skills, and self-awareness.

For these reasons, many organizations now place a premium on leadership development efforts as part of the goals of Executive Coaching for potential leaders as one of the strategies for boosting an organization's success.

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What is Leadership Development?

Leadership development refers to the learning initiatives designed to improve individuals' skills, practical knowledge, and confidence as a preparation for leadership positions. These initiatives are often accomplished by hiring a leadership coach to teach effective leadership traits in any work environment.

In his book, Development of leadership, Dr. Hiriyappa B Ph.D., identifies the following skills required for effective leadership:

  • Trust, Honesty, Integrity, and Confidence
  • Outstanding self-awareness
  • Effective communication
  • Delegative skills
  • Agility and adaptability skills
  • Self-direction
  • Strong problem-solving skills

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Why Leadership Development?

Many key areas of leadership development help impart specific skills for different leadership roles. Some of the importance of leadership development include:

1. Good leadership development Strategy fuels Business strategy.

The two strategies work hand in hand. Developing one strategy helps achieve the other. If a company can take time to understand the needs of its leaders, it will better understand the business strategy that works for them.

An appropriately crafted leadership development strategy is a valuable tool that acts as a competitive advantage for organizations looking at standing out in their niches.

2. It Improves Communication

A leader's communication ability is vital in how a company passes its message to key stakeholders. When effective communication is prioritized, it builds up a positive company culture, increases speed in the execution of tasks, and increases productivity.

Some effective communication skills taught in leadership development programs include active listening, clarity, the ability to ask open-minded questions, and receiving and asking feedback.

3. Improve the engagement of employees.

According to a report by Gallup, 51% of employees are disengaged in the workplace, while about 13% are actively disengaged. This statistic has shown that this feeling has negatively impacted employees' productivity.

Therefore, companies have been working hard to improve employee engagement.

Effective leadership development programs have taught leaders ways to increase team engagement using recognition and purpose. This has shown increased productivity and profitability.

4. It drives Innovation

A workforce with leaders with innovative mindset will be inspired to work on a greater vision that enables the company to embrace creative & innovative ideas. This will lead to higher performance and consistent achievement in a fast-paced business environment.

Moreover, leadership development teaches management skills and influential leadership that help nurture an innovative environment among employees. Such skills include recognizing novel ideas, evidence-based decision-making, collaborative inquiry, risk tolerance, confidence, and emotional stability.

5. Enhances Employee Loyalty.

Leadership development inspires loyalty by showing employees that there is room for growth and that they feel valued. From a company point of view, it saves time, improves a company's image, is cheaper than finding, hiring, and training new leaders, and can be an excellent avenue to identify potential leaders.

6. It creates Agile leaders.

IntroBooks defines agile leadership as "the art for self-organizing to create the right sense." such leaders show the following characteristics:

  • Flexibility and resourcefulness in the face of constantly changing operational scenarios. 
  • The ability to act spontaneously. 
  • The potential to tie together and make sense of seemingly disconnected bits, rendering shape to sustainable solutions

A company with empowered leaders can easily tackle the current business environment and solve problems that might arise quickly, efficiently, and effectively.

Three leaders having a discussion.

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How Can Leadership Development Help You Achieve Your Goals?

For a leadership development program to be effective, clear and effective goals must be set at the start of the process. Some of the goals are;

1. To develop active listening skills.

Sometimes being a leader require you to listen rather than speak.

Members of a team can have some valuable ideas they can share, and it takes a good leader to create an environment for discussion and listen to the ideas of each person.

2. To improve communication.

Communication is always a key factor when it comes to leadership. A leader is always effective in their communication style.

New ideas or changes won't be easily implemented if the communication styles are poor.

Developing effective communication skills requires patience and time. A good leader should know how to build a rapport with the team members and have proper conflict management skills.

3. To Create a mentorship culture.

Every leader should embrace a mentorship culture. It's a vital role for a leader as they help to mold future leaders.

An essential aspect of a leader's job is identifying team members' skills, which is crucial in creating a leadership culture within a company.

It includes coaching, giving constructive feedback, and paying attention to how team members approach challenging projects.

4. To Diversify Knowledge.

A leader needs to be well-rounded with various skills in different areas. Leaders who take time to study fields outside their direct role will be able to handle issues that may arise creatively and easily.

5. To encourage performance in the long run.

Leaders should always think ahead by making decisions that will benefit the team immediately and in the long run.

These goals can help a company or an organization know what is essential, prioritize areas that need change, and what training method would be effective in molding leaders they would like to see.

5. Measurement and analysis of results.

Leadership development plans must be measurable; otherwise, quantifying their impacts will be difficult.

Using measurable goals, data, and employee feedback will help you measure your company's success, and it will be easier to make adjustments.

Open communication and feedback from employees will be necessary. Setting a timeline for each goal and reviewing the results will help you make adjustments if an issue arises.

Establishing positive development and leadership culture in your company will impact results positively, and using these steps, you can create a leadership development plan that you can follow.

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5 Reasons for Leadership Development Programs.

So what are the reasons for coming up with leadership development programs?

Here are some;

1. Guide execution of strategy.

Companies or organizations need leadership strategies that align with business strategy and equip people with the leadership skills required to implement them.

Leadership development allows companies or organizations to shape business strategy and leadership culture.

2. Agility in change.

Leadership development has increased people's ability to lead in the current business world. Mentoring new leaders will unlock the talent within your company, and new talent development with various skills will help navigate changes that may arise.

3. Improvement in Financial Performance.

Leadership development has helped companies reduce the cost of hiring, derive new revenue lines, and improve customer satisfaction. Companies that have increased investment in human capital have been shown to perform better financially than those that emphasize less human capital.

4. Talent attraction, development, and retention.

Leadership development reduces turnover costs, boosts employee engagement, and increases the ability of a company to retain its talent.

Good leaders with strong leadership skills will attract and inspire people and maintain high-performing employees.

It is also cost-effective to coach new leaders from within and try to keep quality talent rather than bring in new leaders. This shows that leadership development programs can be a good investment.

5. Creation of Accountable Leaders.

Leadership development creates highly accountable leaders. Great leaders take accountability for their mistakes and encourage others to learn from them.

Leadership development programs teach aspiring leaders the importance of accountability toward the success of an organization. This creates a strong culture of responsibility within the company.

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

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How Highrise can Help

If your goal is to create an effective leadership development program, Highrise is your best partner. Our leadership training is designed to teach relevant skills necessary for developing effective leaders that can effectively respond in an unpredictable business environment.

Highrise is built for you. Reach out today and enjoy the full benefits of executive coaching.

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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.