What Is Leadership Skills Training? (Plus Benefits)
By Indeed Editorial Team
Published 17 June 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 skills, like project management, analytical thinking and decision-making, are valuable abilities for professionals in many industries. While you can develop these skills through work experience, you can also take part in structured training programmes that focus on improving your skills in key areas. If you're interested in building your leadership skills to support your career goals, learning about leadership skills programmes can help you decide whether these programmes are right for you.
In this article, we define leadership skills training, explain who this training might benefit, describe key components of this training and share benefits of this professional development strategy.
What is leadership skills training?
Leadership skills training programmes teach professionals to improve their skills in leading teams and directing projects. These programmes might cover a range of leadership skills, like organisation and prioritisation, or focus on improving a single leadership skill. In some companies, a senior member of the management team directs leadership training for employees while in others, the management team might hire an external trainer. Training programmes might take a few hours or last for several weeks, depending on the management team's goals and the type of programme they implement.
Who might complete leadership skills training?
While leadership skills are most valuable to management professionals, employees at every stage of their career might benefit from learning these skills. Some companies organise these skills training programmes just for managers, while others open them up to anyone who wants to participate. Also, some team leads might direct specialised programmes for members of their team, focusing on applying leadership skills to their job functions. For example, a senior sales director may conduct a leadership skills training programme for sales team leads and teach them about sales leadership techniques.
What does leadership training include?
While the contents of a training programme might depend on the programme's goals and the company administering it, many training programmes include the following components:
Many leadership training programmes begin with a questionnaire or other activity that encourages participants to think about the role of leadership skills in their work tasks. They may identify areas where they already use leadership skills or tasks that might benefit from more leadership. Other questionnaires might ask participants to rate their leadership skills, like communication and decision-making, on a scale. At the end of the programme, they might rate their skills again and compare the two results. Participants might share their responses or keep them private for the rest of the programme.
The programme's leader might present a slide show or video about the leadership skills they're focusing on during the sessions. These presentations might include a definition of each skill, the benefits of using these skills and examples of work situations where the skills can be valuable. For example, a presenter might describe the different elements of leadership communication, like audience, message and tone. Then, the presenter might explain the benefits of effective communication for leaders and describe hypothetical situations where a leader might use their skills to convey important information to team members and employees.
Often, leadership training programmes feature group activities where colleagues can practise their leadership skills with each other. These might involve role-playing, where colleagues pretend to be other people, like managers or customers. For example, during a leadership training programme for sales managers, teams might perform a role-playing exercise where one team member acts as a manager and the other acts as a sales representative who needs support. Group activities might also involve mock projects or campaign planning, where participants can practise their skills in organisation and delegation. Often, teams share the results of their activities with the entire group afterwards.
During a leadership training programme, participants might take part in reflective exercises, where they respond to the group activities and presentations in writing. Some programmes feature multiple opportunities for reflection, which can be an effective way to develop your professional and interpersonal skills. Participants might choose what aspect of the programme to reflect on or respond to prompts given by the programme leader. Reflection prompts might ask the participants where they might improve their leadership abilities or how they might apply the skills they're learning to their work.
A key way to build skills is to talk about them with your colleagues. These discussions might focus on how to apply the leadership skills to specific departments or why these skills are valuable in the company's industry. In programmes with only a few participants, discussions might include everyone, while larger programmes might divide participants into discussion groups. That way, everyone has a chance to share their insights and interact with their colleagues. Programme directors might provide discussion points and visit each group to guide the conversations.
Benefits of leadership training
Here are some benefits of taking part in such a training programme at your workplace:
Leadership training can help you build your working relationship with your colleagues, which can help you work more effectively with them in the future. Often, these programmes ask participants to assess their own skills in key areas, like communication and project management, and share their insights with their colleagues. Learning how your colleagues prefer to communicate and lead projects can help you develop effective collaboration procedures. For example, you might learn that your colleague prefers to take a supporting role in strategic projects because of their administrative skills.
Taking part in a training programme can help you identify professional strengths that you might not have noticed before, especially if you're at the beginning of your career. You might learn about project management, strategic goal-setting and other advanced concepts, which might be new to you. If you find specific skills to be particularly interesting, you might consider pursuing a career that lets you use them. For example, you might decide to pursue a career in project management after learning about it in a programme.
Helps with career advancement
These programmes can help you develop valuable abilities to advance in your career. Taking part in these programmes can show your manager that you have the qualifications to succeed in a more senior role, which can help you earn an internal promotion. For example, if you're a customer services professional, you might learn leadership, communication and conflict resolution skills during a training programme, preparing you for a role as a senior customer service representative or other team lead. You might also take on additional projects using your new skills, which can help you build your resume.
Affirms company values
While some training programmes focus on general skills, others are customised to fit the company's mission and values. These specialised programmes focus on applying leadership skills to meet the needs of the company's customers and stakeholders. Taking part in these events can help you align your work with the company's mission, which can make you more successful in your work. For example, you might learn about leading projects to create customised solutions for your clients or resolving complex customer issues in an IT setting.
Helps you manage more effectively
If you manage a team of employees, developing your leadership skills can help you support your team members and encourage their own development. Leadership programmes can teach you valuable skills for managing a team, like delegating tasks, evaluating performance, resolving conflicts and creating additional training opportunities for team members. Some programmes focus solely on management leadership skills, while others provide a broader scope with some management elements. Taking part in these programmes can also allow you to connect with other managers in your organisation or industry who can be valuable resources for you later.
Increases workplace satisfaction
Learning leadership skills can make you more successful in your work, increasing your satisfaction in your job. Your new skills can also make you eligible to lead more challenging projects and take on more responsibilities, which can make your job more enriching and lead to rewarding new opportunities. For example, if you take part in a training programme that teaches you communication and organisation skills, you might use these skills to lead a strategic initiative to improve the company's internal communication methods.
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