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How to build an effective leadership development program

Most organisations have a leadership development programme, whether it is a comprehensive system of training or an informal process. However, only a fraction of these companies will consider their programmes truly effective at developing their employees to the desired levels.

Despite the willingness of individuals to progress and build skills to enhance their capacity and performance within a company, unless the structure is right, they may well fall short of their objectives. Equally, companies will also fail to achieve their targets for performance improvement unless there is a comprehensive system in place for building industry-leading leadership qualities in their employees.

It’s not just about introducing new responsibilities in exchange for better rewards. Building leaders requires a combination of resources, company culture, skills, support from management and individual motivation for it to work properly. As so much of good leadership involves helping others to excel within a team or organisation, leadership training also needs to take into account soft skills and internal communication behaviour.

Nevertheless, if you are building your own leadership development programme or entrusting an external agency to help you with this task, here are some essential things to consider.

Build a better management structure

To create effective leaders within your company, you will first need to make sure the overarching structure that exists is tailored for success in terms of how current management and leadership operates. If your current system is confusing, ineffective or even redundant, it will be hard for new leaders to come up through the ranks and take their rightful place in the organisation’s structure.

It’s important that your current management structure is dynamic, relevant to the current marketplace, effective and supportive of company growth across multiple departments. What you don’t want to have is a collection of senior members who operate entirely in their own bubbles, offering little support to those around them and missing the opportunity for junior management to interact and support their roles, which is a key part in how they learn and practise their skills.

Ultimately, aim to create a culture of change in your management system that is adaptable, resilient and collaborative. This will help you to tap into the true potential for strong leadership in your organisation.

Support and guidance through coaching

People need to be shown how to be a leader before they can do it themselves. This can happen with effective mentors or managers who act as role models for leadership, however, it is not always possible in all company structures.

You must create opportunities for leadership coaching and integrate the required time regularly into ‘leadership trainees’ agenda. Building on formal training in good leadership practises, coaching is the essential extension which allows trainees to develop their new leadership skills with practical guidance and feedback. This unleashes their leadership potential and builds new habits which ensure the training has an immediate and practical impact on the individual and your organisation.

If it is not possible to allocate an internal manager or senior member to act as a coach to your future leaders, then consider seeking the help of professional leadership companies who have a proven track record of time management training, leadership courses, and problem solving training and accelerated performance improvement.


You probably don’t need to be reminded of the importance of communication within your company. However, many companies don’t realise that communication skills need to be taught and maintained, even at the highest levels of leadership. It’s easy to assume but that just because your employees are proficient at their jobs and dealing with clients that they are also well versed when it comes to interacting with their team, and those that they are charged with managing. This, unfortunately, is oftentimes not the case.

Communication is also not a skill that leaders can simply learn reading the theory. Communication is an interactive process and needs to be taught through real life situations that require a range of social skills. Also, the way communication takes place across various channels should be addressed, such as emails, phone conversations and video conferences.

Addressing how your leadership team should be communicating with those around them through their development programme will give them a way to optimise and enhance their current work performance and assist them in being a stronger asset to your organisation.


Supervisor Academy provides professional development and effective leadership development training programmes

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