Any successful company focuses on two goals: the quarterly, and the long-term. Simply focusing on the present is not a good way to run a business, and every decision must strengthen the company in the future. To that end, many companies are implementing leadership development programs to safeguard their future.

What is a Leadership Development Program?
A leadership development program is essentially any program designed to teach leadership skills to lower level employees not presently in a leadership role. The aim of such a program is to groom the next generation of company leaders and management long before they step into such a role. Any companies that plan to promote internally as opposed to hiring externally for leadership positions generally favor such a program.

The Most Effective Form of Leadership Development Program
Leadership development programs take many forms. Some are simple training programs, with lessons, assignments, and tests, just like any other employee training course. Some leadership development programs even involve week-long retreats to teach a certain set of skills and lessons. While none of these programs are negative in and of themselves, none of them should be considered a comprehensive development program. The best program is one that doesn’t stop at the end of the lesson or last day of the retreat. The ideal leadership development program is one that exists at all times; any moment in business can be a teaching moment. Open a dialogue with those you are attempting to train, ask their perspective on everyday problems, think of yourself as a mentor more than a teacher. The best leadership development program is one that teaches not what to think, but how to think.

Long-Term Benefits
There are a number of long-term benefits of using a leadership development program to promote from within. When you are able to manage the learning and skills of your candidate pool for new leadership positions, you can establish more cohesiveness within your company. Having such programs in existence provide a consistent reminder to employees that they can advance, giving them an apparent incentive to work harder. Promoting from within also means that the next generation of middle management likely will have worked together before, and means that management teams are more prepared to work together effectively. Having managers who were once low-level employees also allow them wider perspective on the issues a low-level employee might face, a perspective that would not be afforded to an outside hires.

Companies that hire from within are often stronger entities than ones that simply auction for skills. Grooming your leadership assures that your company remains consistent and strong, while introducing younger generations to more important roles allows for constant innovation. In order to do so effectively, a quality leadership development program is absolutely vital.

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