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The importance of leadership development

Great leaders are not born, they’re made. And without leaders, most businesses simply wouldn’t be able to function or would at least struggle to find a coherent direction. This is the sentiment that underpins the concept of leadership development. A good leadership development programme represents a chance for businesses to hold up their best employees and claim a competitive advantage in the market. So why is leadership development still seen as a background concern?

What is a leadership development programme?

When an employee becomes a team leader, they might be a leader by title but not necessarily in spirit. Leadership is a very specific trait that demands specific skills and these are generally the kinds of skills that are not only learnable, but highly transferable. A leadership development programme exists to help employees acquire these skills as they move up the career ladder and to help existing leaders reacquaint themselves with the basics.

How to develop leadership skills

Leadership development doesn’t just benefit the company, but the individual too. These are skills they can use throughout the rest of their professional life, after all. Of course, leadership is not for everyone, but that doesn’t mean you can’t acquire and benefit from certain skills. A good leader is able to:

  • Identify their own strengths and weaknesses and the strengths and weaknesses of their team. 

  • Recognise talent and know how to best use it within the business, encouraging people to play to their strengths.

  • Maintain a clear vision of business goals and draw up detailed strategies that employees are able to follow.

  • Take feedback from their team for the sake of personal growth and to show you value their opinions. It also allows for more thinking outside the box.

  • Keep a positive mindset and approach towards all situations to help shape the confidence of those around you.

  • Communicate effectively to help cultivate a transparent atmosphere that also encourages everyone around you to come up with their own ideas.

  • Motivate team members to deliver the best of their abilities. Motivation is the key to productivity.

  • Switch leadership styles to suit the situation. Different styles are always going to work better with different individuals and in different situations.

What goes into a leadership development plan?

The essential elements of any leadership development programme need to work holistically and will vary depending on the business and the individuals involved. Generally speaking, however, the programme should:

Define leadership – What does leadership mean to your organisation and what is necessary for somebody to work their way up that leadership ladder? Leadership should be defined not only by the long and short-term goals of the business, but by the traits that the business finds desirable.

Identify leaders – It’s not always the loudest voice that makes the most sense. Sometimes, you’ll need to look beyond performance statistics and personalities to discover who will make the best leaders of tomorrow. Attention should be focused equally on all participants if the real leaders are to be found.

Focus on development – Activities should engage employees and encourage growth. This means using real-life scenarios and being honest with feedback to help participants recognise their own leadership qualities.

Why is leadership development so important?

Leadership development is about more than building up your employees to improve your bottom-line finances; it’s about investing in your human capital. By developing your team, you’re more likely to retain top talent and attract new faces. And everyone in the company will be better equipped to develop strategy, herald change and increase agility and innovation. 

It’s a system that creates role models for the future and helps new and existing leaders to carve a path for themselves and their employees, a path that will lead to improved corporate culture and forward-thinking ideas.

We can help

If you’re interested in learning more about leadership development and the costs involved in it then get in touch with our financial experts today. Find out how GOCardless can help you with ad hoc payments or recurring payments.

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