Why is Leadership Development so Important?

John Krautzel
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Proactive leadership development is the key to growing a stable company that can easily adapt to change. Leaders shape your workplace culture, and their values influence how employees perform and interact on the job. When there's a major disconnect between employer and employee expectations, it's difficult to retain and nurture workers who are invested in the company's success. Create a leadership development plan to identify talent and build a foundation for the future.

Why You Need to Groom Future Leaders

Leadership development is a focused effort to find workers with management potential and help them advance their skills. Employers put substantial time and effort into training employees, and that investment is lost when skilled workers consistently migrate to other companies. A shortage of leadership talent forces employers to hire managers from outside the company or promote workers who aren't the most qualified to lead. Over time, poor leadership creates a tense, chaotic culture lacking in trust and teamwork.

With an effective leadership development plan in place, you can build a pipeline of talented workers who are prepared and motivated to enter management roles. Consider the benefits:

1. Cultural Standards

Having a shared model of leadership behavior creates a structured value system for current and future leaders in your organization. Armed with a list of key leadership skills and traits, upper management can develop training programs to cultivate these talents in the workforce.

2. Accountability

When you define the role and responsibilities of a leader, it helps workers at all levels understand what is expected of them. Enable open discussion of leadership standards, so employees feel empowered to speak up about problems. In a culture of transparency, employees learn to manage conflict in productive ways and maintain healthy communication with the workforce.

3. Performance and Teamwork

Most employees feed off of a leader's energy, and they don't have high incentive to go above and beyond to impress bad managers. On the other hand, workers give their best effort when they perceive company leaders as qualified, compassionate and ethical. Morale and teamwork improves across the entire workforce when employees trust their leaders, since everyone is investment in doing well.

4. Career Development

Great employees leave your organization when they don't see enough opportunities to advance their careers. Workers value employers who show interest in their professional goals and actively encourage them to take on more responsibility. Use leadership development to expose workers to different roles in your organization. While everyone isn't on the executive track, you can groom workers to refine their skills for support roles at higher levels in the company.

5. Employer Brand

Not only does leadership development improve retention, but it makes your company more attractive to job seekers and clients. You can try to project a clean image or bury negative feedback, but the internet has made it easy for people to share insider information about employers. Happy, engaged employees have positive things to say about the company culture, and they are your greatest asset for promoting your employer brand.

Some people possess innate leadership skills, but most employees need mentoring and practice to become effective managers. Make leadership development a core part of recruitment and training to build an experienced workforce that is loyal and dedicated to growing the company.

Photo courtesy of rawpixel.com at Flickr.com


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