The economic uncertainty generated by the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting businesses of every size in every industry. Budgets are under extra scrutiny even in organizations that have escaped major fallout. Managers just like you are putting their plans on pause, and training programs are often among the first line items cut.
Why? Some organizations view training—especially leadership development—as expendable. Because they aren’t sure how to measure and quantify the impact of leadership development, executives often lack hard evidence of a positive ROI. But a crisis is precisely the time when an organization’s leadership skills—or lack thereof—are on full display.
Simply put: Organizations that invest in leadership development are more successful than those that don’t. This is true whether the economy is booming or busting. But there are a number of other reasons to invest in leadership development that play into that overall outcome. Keep reading for three ways that leadership development factors into your organization’s success.
Strong Leadership Improves Your Bottom Line
Leadership development is an investment—not an expense. What drives profitability in a company? The ability to sell high-quality products and services to clients is key and is directly affected by employee productivity. The more engaged employees are the more productive they are. The level of employee engagement is a result of the company culture—and leaders have the most influence on company culture.
Investing in leadership development is an excellent way to shape how leaders influence company culture, leading to increased productivity and, eventually, increased profitability. Reducing costs, creating new revenue opportunities and navigating change are other areas where strong leadership can lead to a stronger bottom line.
Good People Want to Work for Good People
It’s common knowledge that a poor relationship between an employee and his or her manager is a leading indicator of whether or not that employee stays with the company. Retaining quality employees is much more time-efficient and cost-effective than finding, hiring and training new ones.
Leadership development training directly addresses the issues that make or break these relationships by giving managers and employees the skills to choose the most effective way to communicate—and adjust it—based on the particular audience and circumstances.
By developing leadership skills at all levels of your organization (from new employees to individual contributors to first-time managers and beyond) you’ll build a strong leadership pipeline. When you can promote leaders from within the company, you’ll boost employee morale because growth opportunities are visible (and potentially available) to everyone. Plus, you’ll be able to maintain a consistent company culture to drive future success.
Leadership Development Creates a Competitive Edge
One of the most important skills for leaders today is the ability to navigate change and market volatility. in other words: adaptability. Those organizations that are quick to adapt to change and respond strategically are more likely to achieve lasting success than organizations that are slow and stuck in their ways. This adaptability is necessary throughout the organization from individuals and teams who may change how they work day-to-day to executives who must shift an entire business strategy.
Luckily, adaptability is a skill that can be honed with practice. Leadership development and change management are woven closely together. One cannot happen in absence of the other. From how to best implement a change to how to handle unexpected change, leadership development teaches participants to adapt their leadership style to meet the needs of any situation.
- Leadership development works best when you can tie your desired outcomes to the larger goals of your organization. What are some of the short- and long-term goals that leadership training can address at your company?
- Think about an example of when your organization was going through a time of change. Did you notice anyone (or even yourself) displaying leadership skills that helped or hindered the situation? If so, what were those skills and what role did they play in managing the change?