Key Factors for a Successful Leadership Development Programme

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 4 August 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.

Leadership development focuses on empowering and equipping future leaders to manage the organisation effectively. Organisations may create their own programmes in line with their vision and goals, designing their content and structure accordingly. Learning about how to craft an effective leadership development programme can help you conduct one successfully and help existing or potential leaders to be more effective in their roles. In this article, we list ten key factors for a successful leadership development programme.

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10 key factors for a successful leadership development programme

Here are 10 key factors for a successful leadership development programme:

1. Assess the needs of the organisation

It's important to evaluate the organisation or business needs of the organisation and translate them into leadership outcomes. Think about which area to focus on based on those needs, such as operational excellence, business growth, strategic thinking or personal effectiveness. Consider conducting a leadership training needs assessment to identify the competencies, knowledge and attitudes you wish to develop. Since there are different levels of leadership in organisations, it's necessary to identify the needs according to the level of leadership, roles, career goals and team dynamics.

Before beginning this programme, it's beneficial to align your company culture. This can help you remain focused as you put together the programme content. Ensure that the material is centred on the company strategy, goals, values, mission and vision.

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2. Ensure that participants are well-informed

It's essential for participants to understand the purpose of the leadership development programme and to know what the company expects of them before starting the programme. Briefing them on the programme content, structure, activities, methodologies and assessments may help them prepare themselves better. Plan to communicate the learning objectives of the programme so that they can participate in the programme with a clear idea of its purpose.

Conducting a meeting between facilitators and participants to come to a common understanding of the goals, confidentiality and roles before the programme starts may also contribute to its success. This may also create a sense of anticipation and excitement among the participants towards the programme.

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3. Focus on personal effectiveness

Many leadership development programmes may focus on cultivating skills and imparting knowledge, but it's essential to also address individual personalities and preferences. Reflecting on one's behaviour, character and attitudes and making the necessary changes is key to becoming an effective and successful leader. As such, consider including components such as self-awareness, coaching and accountability and group support in the programme. Commitment and consistency are necessary to make behavioural changes, so ensure that the programme challenges individuals within a supportive environment.

Think about how to incorporate personal accountability and confidentiality so that participants feel confident and safe to share their challenges in development. By sharing their weaknesses or difficulties in leading, the participants may also build stronger relationships with others.

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4. Provide feedback

It's advisable to plan ways to provide constructive feedback to participants. When deciding on diagnostics, select one that focuses on self-awareness and ensures confidentiality. Consider introducing multi-source feedback that aligns with the goals and content of the programme. Multisource feedback, also known as 360-degree employee evaluation, is an assessment method based on questionnaires where colleagues and peers evaluate the individual on important performance behaviours.

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5. Ensure flexibility

To encourage active participation and engagement with the content of the leadership development programme, it's essential that the design and process of the programme are flexible. Each participant has a different level of openness, learning style and personality, so it's important for facilitators to be accommodating. By being adaptable and adjusting the content and flow of the programme according to the needs of the participants, they can make the developmental experience more meaningful.

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6. Choose a suitable model

Think about the model through which you want to conduct the programme. Decide based on the size, structure and culture of the organisation. For example, if the company is a large one with global offices, you may opt for video training. You can plan short and effective lessons to cater to the busy and differing schedules of leaders. You can upload the entire training programme onto an online platform, only allowing access to selected participants. With this model, the videos are available at all times and participants can access them from any location.

If the company has a strong culture of meeting in person, you can opt for training sessions at a physical location instead.

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7. Brand the programme

Branding the leadership development programme is an effective way to make it popular among both existing and aspiring leaders. Consider the way you choose to name the programme, as that can have a significant impact on the impression that participants have of the programme. Instead of choosing practical names, brand the training in a more creative way. Select names that indicate growth, such as STEP or LEAD. This can create a sense of excitement and enthusiasm for the programme and reinforce a shared experience among participants.

Pay attention to the design elements, such as the logo of the programme and the colours and font used in the material. For example, to make the programme unique to the company, you can incorporate the company's brand colours.

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8. Prepare a set of metrics

For leaders to make effective changes in their behaviours and working style, it's important to ensure individual accountabilities for growth. Determine a set of metrics to gauge the level of development and issue it to participants before, during and after the programme. Analysis of the metrics can help to identify growth and areas of improvement. This also encourages participants to reflect on their personal effectiveness and plan how to make the necessary changes. By doing this, you communicate that there are expectations to act upon what they've learnt and to improve on themselves.

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9. Create a deployment plan

After developing the programme, think about how the company is going to implement it. Consider time zones, language and your target audience. For example, you may be conducting the sessions on a video conferencing platform for participants from various parts of the world. It's essential to be mindful of the timing of the sessions in various places and set a time that's feasible for all participants. Think carefully about the duration of each session, making sure that the period allows for coverage of sufficient material yet enables the participants to remain engaged.

Plan ways to track attendance, such as with spreadsheets or online forms. Identify protocols for each major area, such as enrolment, evaluation, distribution of materials and feedback. Consider running a pilot programme to test all the protocols. This can help you improve the efficiency of the programme.

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10. Get feedback from superiors

For an organisation to expand and prosper, remember that it requires committed and skilled employees led by capable leaders. Management effectiveness is key to organisational effectiveness, productivity, talent development and employee satisfaction and retention. When crafting a leadership development programme, think about the changes that you wish to see in the organisation and discuss them with your team or committee. Also, regularly communicate with superiors regarding the planning of the programme and get feedback from them. They may have different perspectives based on their experiences and knowledge and may provide valuable advice to help make the programme a success.

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