The success of an organization rests on the quality of its leadership. Leaders set the tone, form culture, and support employee development. In this article, I share strategies for successful leadership training, especially in the hybrid workplace.
Why Is Leadership Development So Important?
Former US Navy SEALs and leadership consultants Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, in their book Extreme Ownership, explain that there are no bad teams, just bad leaders. They write, “Leadership is the single greatest factor in any team’s performance. Whether a team succeeds or fails is all up to the leader. The leader drives performance—or doesn’t.”
But good leadership doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a skill and competency that should be developed like any other vital for success on the job.
In today’s competitive and constantly evolving business markets, purposeful leadership is more important than ever before. In fact, the hybrid work model requires additional and different leadership competencies, some of which are different from traditional work model leadership models.
The current hybrid work model presents two main challenges to traditional leadership development training programs.
- First, traditional models leverage face-to-face interactions in classroom, coaching, and mentoring settings. They depend on frequent face-to-face training lack the agility and sustainability required in today’s volatile world and hybrid workplace.
- Second, traditional programs don’t account for modern diversity in thought, experience, and accessibility.
A hybrid leadership development training program can successfully accommodate the changed requirements and is advantageous in several ways:
- It accommodates a more diverse audience group. That diversity includes employees who might now be working mothers, remote employees, people with caregiving responsibilities, and people with disabilities. Traditionally, people who face those challenges have been excluded from leadership programs, but in a hybrid workplace and leadership development model, those challenges can be overcome.
- Leadership development training programs can leverage the power of asynchronous elements as time for thoughtful reflection. In larger organizations, this can include people from various office and remote locations to create a richer and more diverse experience and exposure for the organization.
- Hybrid models offer more opportunity for labs, simulations, and individual consumption and evaluation of learning content. Labs, for example, can be completed by cohorts regardless of the time zone. Participants can collaborate asynchronously or by video conferencing, working through simulated scenarios to develop plans and implementation strategies.
- A hybrid leadership development training model will drive innovation and creativity. Good leadership develops talent, encouraging experimentation and iteration, leading to innovative ideas and products.
What Should Be the Key Outcomes of Leadership Development Training in a Hybrid Workplace?
There are several outcomes to any leadership development program. Among them, consider the following as high value targets in a hybrid workplace:
- The ability to create a strong leadership pipeline by developing within aspiring leaders core leadership competencies important for a healthy organizational culture.
- Developing skilled leaders enhances team performance including project velocity and output, while enhancing the employee experience by reducing stress, creating opportunities for growth, and developing a more inclusive workforce.
- Increasing and enhancing employee engagement. As employees evaluate their employer, or potential employer, among the highest valued components is the commitment an organization has to employee development.
- Increased business performance due to the alignment of leadership development programs to the organization’s needs, strategies, and tactics.
How to Make Leadership Development Training Successful in the Hybrid Workplace?
A successful leadership development training program that works in the hybrid workplace depends on a few things.
- Develop an assessment plan for the leadership development training program. This should not be an afterthought, but instead it should drive the development of the program. Identify key performance indicators used to evaluate the success rate of the program, relying heavily on objective measures such as rates of change, number of innovative ideas and plans implemented, and increased revenue.
- A program of this nature must be actively supported and sponsored by the executive team. Without the backing of the C-suite, it’s almost impossible for a program to gain traction and maintain momentum. Live sessions, usually facilitated virtually, should be done by members of the C-suite as often as possible. This will challenge aspiring leaders and help them understand the past successes of their firm.
- Under the direction of the C-suite, a leadership development training program in the hybrid workplace should consider and align to enterprise goals, strategies, and tactics. They should facilitate learning that develops competencies that enable current or aspiring leaders to be more successful facing current and future challenges in their industry.
- Ensure that a leadership development training program creates positive employee experiences. This generates a sense of belonging and helps individuals feel valued by the organization. It increases purpose and employee engagement.
- As with any change management or process improvement process, adopt an agile mindset, frequently and consistently evaluating the program while making tweaks for improvement and trying incremental experiments. Ensure honest evaluation of those changes to determine if they should be continued or abandoned.
- Incorporate leadership competencies specific to a hybrid work model, including a work-from-anywhere mindset. It’s no longer true that work can and should only be done in an office. Many knowledge work employees can work from anywhere if they have a decent Internet connection.
It’s critical to ask the question: Does your leadership development training address the aspects listed above?
What Strategies Are Important for Leadership Development Training Programs in the Hybrid Workplace?
Because of the nature of a hybrid workplace model, it’s important to consider new and innovative approaches to training, including:
- A robust coaching, mentor-matching, and mentoring program, including healthy feedback loops.
- Experiential learning and simulations where participants can generate ideas and implement them in simulated or low-risk environments.
- Skills practice by creating safe practice zones. Participants should be able to practice, fail, and iterate.
- Personalized learning opportunities, allowing participants to select from a few customizable learning paths according to their individual needs and desires.
- Microlearning, providing learning objects when and where the learner needs them. These can be particularly effective on the job so that participants can apply and practice what they’re learning.
Leadership sets the direction, tone, and culture in organizations. Unhealthy and weak leadership can mire a firm in bureaucracy and internal politics. Healthy, purposeful leadership, on the other hand, can create a culture of learning, creativity, and innovation. Adapting traditional leadership development training programs to accommodate the hybrid workplace will ensure the success of firms, now and in the future.
I hope the strategies shared in this article provide you with the requisite cues to make your leadership training successful in the hybrid workplace.
Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.
- eBook: How L&D Teams Can Lead Learning Culture Transformation And Help Build A Learning Organization
- Why Blended Learning Must Be The Go-To Strategy For Your Leadership Training Programs
- Tips and Strategies to Design Effective Leadership Training and Achieve Higher ROI
- How to Enhance Your Leadership Training with eLearning
- 6 Must-Have Workplace Learning Strategies for the Hybrid Workplace
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