Leadership is a key factor to an organization's effectiveness. Studies show that successful organizations have superior leaders and executives. Since skilled leaders are difficult to find, organizations deliberately conduct executive development training to improve the skills of their executives, managers and supervisors. Leadership skills can be learned, but learning on the job does not ensure an organization's success.
Aside from business coaching and attending conferences and seminars, completing an executive development program is important to enhance your executive leadership skills. Management development or leadership development programs are costly, but are needed for the following reasons: organizations with good leaders are capable of generating high financial returns; such organizations can attract quality applicants, maintain satisfied employees, increase employee retention, and create loyal customers.
In creating an executive development training program, several factors are to be considered. The participants should be carefully selected from the applicant pool, adequate and guaranteed funding should be provided for the project, and dedicated development staff and administrators are needed to complete the program.
Existing or new human resource programs meant to reward aspiring and current leaders who have met their required competencies should be used to acknowledge top performers. It is just as important that the organization show its commitment to getting rid of program participants who are ineffective, and removing existing leaders who are not willing or are incapable of improving their skills despite organizational support.
The creation of an executive development training program involves:
- Determining the kind of candidates the organization needs and defining the criteria for selecting program participants.
- Identifying the specific leadership competencies that are correlated with the organization's effectiveness. These competencies should be aligned with the organization's core values and mission statement, but may differ according to the executive, manager or supervisor levels in the organization.
- Clarifying the simple and fair process to apply as a program participant. The usual step in the process starts with the program being advertised. The applicant is then evaluated to see if he qualifies as a participant, and the last step in the process is informing the applicant of the decision.
- Making a valid and reliable assessment of the participant's current leadership style versus the applicant's management level competency criteria, his leadership traits, and motivation to participate. Performance appraisals, a 360-degree survey on leadership, and the self-assessment or others' assessment of the applicant's jobs can be used.
- Providing activities for the participant to have a specific course of action to improve his leadership skills. A set of challenging, time-bounded and measurable management developmental activities have to be given for the participants to accomplish.
- Reinforcing current and existing human resource development programs by integrating these programs with the newly created leadership program.
- Maximizing the use of the participant's work group by implementing the leadership development program in the same workplace and within the context of the leader's current domain, making use of his existing workforce.
- Building a talent pool from where future managers can be sourced. The program should develop individual leaders that would meet the organization's strategic and global goals and directions, and answer current and future leadership needs.
- Evaluating if the executive leadership training is generating a good return on the company's investment. The executives and designers of the program should be able to define the scope of the evaluation, based on the set program goals.