Although some people still consider leadership a natural-born talent, many have come to terms with the fact that it is only one part of the equation. There are some certain elements, including height or the sound of one's voice, that do affect how well people command the respect of others. In fact, Fast Company even recently noted only 30 percent of leadership ability comes down to genetics. At the same time, there are numerous ways to improve the other aspects of being a successful leader.
For instance, there are colleges and universities across the United States that offer students various courses that will help aspiring managers develop their leadership skills. These classes can be quite expensive, and a customized offering at a top business school could exceed $15,000, according to McKinsey. Additionally, there are dedicated training programs that businesses can capitalize on by enrolling their employees. McKinsey found that companies in the U.S. alone spend $14 billion annually on these programs.
Companies spend a lot of money on executive training initiatives, and it is for a good reason – many have identified developing talented leaders as a priority. A significant portion of senior managers often feel their employer does not invest in their development properly, which can lead to some inefficacy when it comes to leading others and commanding the respect of their peers. Additionally, McKinsey reported that as many as 30 percent of U.S. businesses admit they have been unable to capitalize on opportunities simply because they lack leaders with the right capabilities.
Making leadership development efforts worth the investment
Businesses realize they need qualified, talented leaders in order to really succeed as an entity, and one of the best ways to accomplish this end goal is by leveraging the right training and education initiatives. However, not all investments in leadership development programs deliver the results that businesses expect. This is not because the program is bad, but because firms often go into these sessions with the wrong mindset or expectations.
The first step for getting the most out of leadership training courses is by simply approaching these programs with realistic expectations. One does not go into a training course and magically evolve into the world's best leader. The company and employee in question must realize that training programs are about more than just learning skills – it requires an effort from the leaders to change their behavior and embrace the lessons given to them.
McKinsey also suggests that companies rethink how they measure the results of their leadership development investments. Without meaningful ways of assessing training efforts, they may wind up drawing the wrong conclusion about training programs.
"Companies pay lip service to the importance of developing leadership skills but have no evidence to quantify the value of their investment," the news source added. "When businesses fail to track and measure changes in leadership performance over time, they increase the odds that improvement initiatives won't be taken seriously."
Training is not magic, it takes hard work. Companies need to go into leadership development initiatives with the right mindset and the ability to assess these efforts fairly, or else they may not get the most out of these initiatives.