Who starts the conversation about Leadership Development?

by: Dean Fulford

Most of us have had the privilege of working for a highly effective manager who is also known as a great leader! Great leaders bring the best out of others, trample down barriers to their success, and take enormous pride when the team succeeds.

Some of the habits of great leaders that we look for are things like: they align team and individual work to the organization’s direction, they empower others with the resources and authority they need to succeed, and they help others achieve more through feedback, instruction and encouragement.

So, who is that calls out when leaders aren’t portraying these habits at work? Is it the employee? Is it their manager? Is it the HR leader? Is it all three? Does it matter?

Here are some ways anyone can present the request for leadership development:

1.     Focus on benefits: talk about the immediate and long term value of having this new skill. “Learning how to become a great coach for my team will both reduce the risk of them leaving AND prepare them for even more impactful roles in the future.”

2.     Point to the stickiness of the solution: talk about how the benefits can multiply when applied more broadly in the organization. “By demonstrating this new skill with my team everyday, I can see them better communicating and coaching each other. I can see how our productivity will improve.”

3.     Don’t make it a ‘one hit wonder’: make sure you have thought about how training will lead to ongoing application. “I know this learning program won’t solve all our challenges overnight, but let’s add ‘having more coaching conversations with my team’ to my work goals. That will keep us focused on making this activity part of how I approach my role everyday.”

No matter who starts the conversation about leadership development, there is always a challenge to find the budget to pay for it. If you’re an Ontario based organization there is a government grant called the Canada-Ontario Job Grant – a program that will help fund Leadership Development efforts within organizations. The grant covers up to $10,000 per employee! We’re happy to have a discussion to help you get started. You can download an information package here: www.stratfordmanagers.com/leadershipdevelopmentfunding

Training is a process. The more follow-up impact you can include in your training proposal the less people will question the decision to spend money on an event that will produce results that could last a lifetime. Especially if that investment is offset with the Canada Ontario Job Grant!

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