Creating a successful leadership development programme

Libby Webb talks leadership development programmes for TJ.

Every organisation needs effective leaders in all areas of their business if they have any hope of thriving in today’s tough market. Yet many businesses overlook the importance of implementing leadership development programmes that offer employees a clear pathway to management roles.

Designing and introducing well thought out leadership development programmes for your teams is a way to offer them the opportunity and encouragement to develop the skills they require to move up within your organisation and to grow in their career. 

These development initiatives also offer improved employee morale and greater team productivity, creativity and innovation. It’s all about creating the right leadership development programme for your organisation and its employees. This ‘one size fits all’ approach really doesn’t fit into L&D very well… 

Here are some top tips on how to create a successful one:

Identify your company’s leadership needs 

According to Gallup, more than 50% of managers feel disconnected from both their responsibilities as a leader and their organisation’s mission. If we couple this with the fact that general employees are also disengaged in meeting their company’s strategic goals, it is no huge surprise why so many organisations are struggling to reach their growth targets. 

For a leadership development programme to succeed, you must first outline the current gaps in skills your organisation has or may lack in time to come – for example, if your current leaders were to retire or leave what attributes would be missed?

For a leadership development programme to succeed, you must first outline the current gaps in skills your organisation has or may lack in time to come

Your companies long-term and short-term needs (i.e. the organisational growth you intend to achieve in the next six months) need to be addressed in order to ensure you have the right leadership team in place to see this happen. 

Don’t train, develop

Effective leaders cannot be constructed overnight. You leaders (and potential leaders) should be supported and developed through every step of their learning journey. 

When creating courses, curating content and producing activities, think about the types of situations your learners will benefit from in order to grow. Job shadowing and on-the-job training are especially beneficial for leadership development as it helps your emerging leaders to observe how they should (and perhaps shouldn’t) handle future problematic scenarios. 

Professional development is one of the industry’s latest trends and is becoming a key part of any successful workplace training scheme. By focusing on the professional development of your employees you equip them with the tools needed to improve the specific skills they require to succeed in their role. 


And in succeeding in their role, ultimately, they’re succeeding in your business. 

Discover your potential leaders 

A common mistake a lot of organisations make is assuming their top-performing employees are the ones best-suited to leadership roles – this isn’t always the case. Just because someone has demonstrated excellent work in his/her current role, it doesn’t mean they will evolve into a leader for the business. 

By offering leadership development to all employees who are interested, you open yourselves up to numerous potential leaders who you may not have considered otherwise, but who thrive in their new role. 

Measure your results 

Before formally implementing your leadership development programme, you must determine how you will measure its success and impact within your organisation. And this is the case with any learning that might occur within your business – how will you know if your development strategies are having any kind of impact or if they’re worth the investment you’re putting in? 

There are a number of ways you can measure this:

  1. Observe newly-imparted skills on the job – test your learners with real-life tasks/scenarios which ask them to apply their newly acquired knowledge 
  2. Ask employees for feedback – find out what they found useful/what they didn’t, after all, they’re the ones using it so you need to ensure they’re finding the tools available to them are well received 
  3. Calculate the ROI – you will never know how much your training is impacting your employees without working out the ROI of your investment. In doing so, you’ll also figure out what’s been working and what hasn’t in order to inform future decisions

As well as their leadership development, your training programme should also ensure your employees become more efficient in their day-to-day job roles – not just qualify them for promotions down the line.

Effective business leaders also understand how every facet of the organisation works with a working overview of all operations. Encourage the employees in your leadership development programme to stretch their abilities further by taking on projects that don’t typically reach their workload. 

After all, whether they’re a marketer, an accountant or a business developer, your leaders should have a good understanding of every aspect of your business. 


About the author

Libby Webb is a content writer for HT2 Labs



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