How Leadership Development Training Sharpens Your Edge

In today’s volatile and highly competitive economy, businesses are having to make tough decisions about where to spend the company’s dollars. Often the first casualties of budget cuts are line items that are viewed as extraneous – things that are perceived to be costs rather than investments.

Somewhat ironically, these items often come out of the human resources budget. Training for “soft” skills is frequently seen as expendable; ironic because these skills are the foundation for so much of what makes an employee, a team, and the organization as a whole more effective, and therefore more profitable.

Leadership development training courses are an example of soft skill training not recognized as an investment. However, this type of training not only directly benefits the employee but contributes to the bottom line of the organization as well.

Employee turnover is a huge cost to companies, regardless if the employee is an hourly employee at the bottom of the corporate ladder or a senior executive at the top. There is a cost to finding the right candidate, interviewing, hiring, and training specific to the company. There’s also a cost associated with the learning curve; their productivity is affected until they are fully integrated into the team and corporate culture.

Presumably, their absence requires someone else to assume the work they were doing until the position is filled. This contributes to burnout and low morale as others take on more work without increased compensation and often without appreciation. Low morale and burnout further decrease productivity.

Leadership development training, however, prepares individuals and teams to be more resilient, flexible, and engaged. How is this accomplished? What skills are included in leadership development training courses?

According to noted psychologist, Daniel Goleman, emotional intelligence is the largest single predictor of success in the workplace. It is the foundation for all other leadership skills. Goleman’s core competencies of emotional intelligence are self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

Self-awareness is sometimes the most complicated of these competencies. It can be extremely helpful to engage a professional organization to provide leadership development courses and coaching. On the subject of self-awareness, a certified coach provides the security for an individual to be vulnerable and take a deep look at their strengths and weaknesses.

Self-management refers to self-control: maintaining your composure and clear thinking, especially under stress.

Social awareness is often referred to as empathy. Goleman identifies three types of empathy:

  • Cognitive Empathy: the ability to understand another’s perspective.
  • Emotional Empathy: the ability to physically feel what another person feels.
  • Empathic Concern: the ability to sense what another needs from you.

Goleman goes on to say in his writings on the focused leader that having control of our empathy for others leads to better decision making when their emotions overwhelm us.

.Relationship management: The ability to manage relationships with others through influencing, coaching, mentoring, and resolving conflict.

Next on the leadership skill agenda is communication. As with emotional intelligence there are many components to communication.

  • Adaptability: tailoring your communication to your audience.
  • Active listening: remaining engaged and paying attention to verbal and nonverbal cues.
  • Transparency: being truthful and open.
  • Clarity: distilling the message to the essential components to promote understanding.
  • Inquisitiveness: asking open-ended questions to encourage dialogue.
  • Body language: having body language that matches your message.

Leadership development training courses also develop adaptability, enhanced decision making, conflict resolution, strategic thinking, creativity and innovation.

Investing in leadership development training courses leads to more engaged employees, which leads to higher job satisfaction and less turnover. An engaged employee is more invested in organizational outcomes, which contributes to profitability. This investment is a winning proposition all around.

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