Every year, companies across the globe spend billions on leadership development.
Yet, despite all this work, 1 in 3 employees still don’t trust their employer.
The problem here is that the methods we use to transform everyday people into leaders might be outdated. As the Harvard Business Review’s “State of Leadership” report from 2016 suggests, only 7% of companies think their programs are “best in class.” This means that development strategies aren’t relevant or strategic enough to support the next generation of tech talent.
Why Today’s Leadership Development Doesn’t Work
As the modern workplace becomes more innovative, tech companies are facing a range of new challenges. Digital marketers are embracing AI, while Salesforce consultants look into the importance of big data for customer management. It’s safe to say that everyone is moving towards a more “agile” existence.
Unfortunately, the methods available for developing leaders today haven’t caught up with these agile practices yet. Instead, companies are still offering their hires traditional education in the form of classroom-taught lessons and clinically-styled training. This removes leaders from the experiential and relevant experiences that would develop their emotional intelligence.
With the disconnect between the development leadership needs, and the training your employees get causing so many problems, the question is, what would work better? How do you support the next generation of tech leaders?
Here are some suggestions to deploy.
1. Make Education Experiential
Learning the theory behind a skill is excellent, but it’s not the same as putting that skill into action. One of the problems that many leadership development programs suffer from is that their training environments aren’t applicable to a leader’s everyday environment. Without a link between lessons and real-world situations, it’s hard for developing managers to fully embrace new skills.
Make sure your tech talent has the resources, technology, and environment they need during their training sessions to automatically transfer the methodologies they learn into their day-to-day job. Experiential learning strategies encourage “learning by doing.”
If your software testing manager is going to be working with new marketing software every day, allow them to use it on the same computer they have in the office. If your Salesforce advisor will be developing strategies with a team, bring those other employees into the training too.
2. Support Different Types of Learning
Another problem with leadership development strategies is that they frequently focus on one kind of content. Unfortunately, learners come in many different types, including visual learners, kinaesthetic learners, auditory learners, and reading or writing learners.
Supporting your leadership hires means providing them with the learning solution they need to make the most out of the education they’re getting. For instance, if you’re working with an auditory learner, you might need to describe how a new piece of software or hardware functions in a face-to-face mentoring environment. On the other hand, a visual learner might prefer the same information in an infographic.
Discuss educational options with your star performers in advance, so you can set up lessons that suit the way they absorb information.
3. Create Content Relevant to Development Needs
Just as every potential leader learns differently, they also have unique skills that they need to work on too. Not everyone in your organisation will have the same strengths and weaknesses. For instance, some leaders may need help building their communication skills, while others need more assistance with technical talents.
Unfortunately, many development programs have inflexible plans for lessons, which force students to sit through the same lessons. A training strategy that isn’t tailor-made can sometimes lead to disengagement. If someone isn’t interested and engaged in a lesson, they might find it harder to retain the information they get.
When placing someone into a leadership program, assess their needs beforehand and sign them up for programs customised to their strengths and weaknesses.
4. Focus on Continuous Development
Finally, it’s worth approaching leadership development like a fitness strategy. Helping your employees get into shape means constantly working towards their goals. A few training sessions per year doesn’t lead to lasting results, but constant support and education creates an innovative, and driven leader.
After identifying your leadership candidates, sit down in an interview with your hires to discuss their needs and nurture them. This keeps employees from feeling like they’re not making progress, and it leads to faster development.
It may also be helpful to look at the leadership skills your organisation would benefit most from. That way, you can choose a strategy that aligns your business goals, to the ambitions of your leadership hires.
About Resource On Demand
Resource On Demand is Europe’s first specialist Salesforce Recruitment Company, now also focusing on growth Cloud markets.
We assist innovative and disruptive organisations to grow their technology teams. Supporting companies to fill Cloud roles that span across Digital Marketing, Marketing Automation, Human Capital Management and the growing Salesforce.com suite of skills.
The team at Resource On Demand have access to an extensive database of key talent, registering over 8000 Cloud professionals each year.
To find out how we can support you call us on +44 20 8123 7769