Leadership Training Topics: The Essential Checklist
Whether we’ve been one of the parties in an awkward supervisor/supervisee relationship, or we’ve watched poor leadership practices impact our organization, we all know managing people requires a specific skill set. Just because we give an individual contributor a new title doesn’t mean they have the skills they need to lead teams effectively—much less enjoy it.
A CareerBuilder survey reports more than 26% of managers said they weren’t ready to become a leader when they started managing others, and 58% said they didn’t receive any management training at all. According to the ATD whitepaper Experiential Learning for Leaders, only 28% of business executives say they’re effective at developing leaders.
Leadership training is critically important. In this post, we hope to help you get started on the program your managers need. We’ll make it easy to identify the leadership training topics you need to consider, and we’ll explore different ways you can implement your program.
Leadership Training Topics
Even though the manager onboarding statistics are concerning, the good news is this—leadership training is a wonderful place to build a strong, sustainable culture of learning.
We've compiled a checklist of leadership training topics to help you answer this question: Where do my managers need to build their skills?
Leadership Learning Experiences
Okay, keep that strategy hat on and answer this next question: What type of training experience would be ideal for your managers?
Ultimately, you want to identify the must-haves that will unleash the most benefits for your company and culture. Here are some considerations to help you brainstorm. In order to meet business, manager, and team needs, many programs choose to blend two or three of these approaches.
IN-PERSON FACILITATED PROS CONS More opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices If facilitated as a full-day or multi-day event, follow-up activities should be developed and implemented to encourage application and defeat the “forgetting curve” High learner accountability If facilitated as a full-day or multi-day event, may involve extra costs such as hotel, travel, and food Limited distractions Managers are not as accessible to their team members Can be developed in bite-sized formats and facilitated in-house to provide continuous learning
VIRTUAL INSTRUCTOR-LED PROS CONS No travel required Fewer opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices Can be developed in bite-sized formats and facilitated in-house to provide continuous learning Difficult to measure engagement beyond course participation
Managers are susceptible to more distractions during the training
Technology challenges with video, Internet connectivity, and sound can negatively impact the learning experience
SELF-PACED ON DEMAND/JUST-IN-TIME PROS CONS No travel required Fewer opportunities to bond, build a support network, and share best practices Simple course completion tracking Difficult to measure engagement beyond course completion Typically organized in bite-sized courses, so managers can balance training with supporting their teams Managers are susceptible to more distractions during the training Consistent information and experience Easy to administer
Leadership Training Timing
Based on our experience, the best time to enroll managers in training is right when they’ve been promoted, or “just in time.” Relevant leadership training is the antidote to sink-or-swim, a practice that hurts confidence, morale, and your company’s net promoter score.
Waiting for managers to ask for help is risky. You’ll lose productivity, and some of your managers with the potential to be great leaders might realize another company offers more support and professional development.
When it comes to leadership training, strike while the iron is hot, when managers are eager to learn. Proactively equip them with the skills they need to confidently excel in their new role.
Hopefully, you’re starting to get a vision for the type of leadership training topics your managers need, and the type of learning experiences that will support your goals. Keep in mind learning experiences can be combined in order to create a blended approach, and you can always hire a partner to help you develop your strategy.
Managers want to feel equipped for their roles so they can make a positive impact on your company and the lives of their direct reports. When you build their skills and confidence, you create a more sustainable organization and a better place to work.