There is no denying that leadership development programs make an enormous impact on an organisation’s overall performance as well as to the performance of employees at every level. The key is for people to be able to recognise their strengths as well as their limitations. It is only after identifying these areas that we may begin to address them. While organisations deserve and should expect a unique program to meet their needs, it is clear that no matter the starting point, the results of excellent leadership programs are the same.
One important goal of any leadership development training program is to provide the skills and know-how to be able to build trust and foster a healthy, safe culture. It could be said that a lack of trust is perhaps the biggest missing link in a company’s potential for success. In a recent survey by Edelman Trust Barometer, they found that only 37% of people thought their company CEOs were suitably credible or trustworthy (1.2). This is an astounding statistic and has a direct impact on performance.
When leadership development opportunities are offered to all employees, we begin to see a shift towards an improved communication within teams, between management levels, and across departments. Leadership development programs open up people’s hearts and minds to new possibilities. Lower-level employees are encouraged to share more of their ideas and those in higher positions become more receptive. When employees trust those in management, communication improves, information is shared more freely and individuals are more likely to contribute in forums such as team meetings.
This is perhaps the most undervalued benefit to leadership development. Often times, the people who are best suited for leadership already exist within the company. Leadership development programs offer these people the chance to be recognised – particularly those not currently in a leadership role. These opportunities also help to foster a sense of company loyalty and employee engagement, while at the same time improving the efficiency of the business.
Creates Capable Leaders
By providing leaders with the skills they need to successfully navigate the ever-changing and often unpredictable business environment, organisations are able to overcome obstacles much more quickly (2). Capability in leaders also allows organisations to better shape their business strategy from the top-down by ensuring leaders are equipped to implement it.
Improves Company Success
Strong leaders are a fundamental element of successful organisations. When companies invest in placing the right people in leadership positions, other employees are then more motivated to perform better and achieve goals (3). Leaders who are ‘role-fit’ encourage creativity and innovation while simultaneously ensuring their team is focused on their common objectives. Companies who place greater value in leadership development are also shown to have stock market returns that are five times higher than those who don’t (2).
As previously mentioned, leadership development is an important factor in enhancing company loyalty. Employees are much more likely to remain with the same company for longer when they feel they are being valued and supported by their leaders. In fact, a joint study conducted in 2018 by recruitment firms Accounting Principals and Ajilon found that 53.6% of individuals say “their top reason that keeps them from quitting their job is the loyalty they feel to their team, boss, coworkers or their company” (4). Essentially, what these people are referring to is trust.
What impact does trust have in these areas?
Everything we have talked about above coexists because of trust. Trust is the foundation for so much, including communication, the identification and development of competent leaders, and the fostering of a culture that values and encourages ideas to power up company success.
By taking the time to implement new leadership strategies it is possible not only to improve areas in which a company may be deficient but also to build upon existing strengths. When we look at the benefits of leadership development we can begin to see why such programs are important too, and impact on, all areas of business. Not only this, but we can see how each of these particular benefits stem from having a strong foundation of trust.