An organization’s success hinges on many factors. Good leaders drive performance by creating higher performing teams that generate better business results.
As a result, the leadership development training is a significant part of the overall training in most organizations. These trainings need to be designed to not only meet current business goals but also future goals. Well-designed leadership trainings increase employee engagement, enhance productivity, and improve retention levels. Most significantly, they help nurture talent as you ready the organization for its future goals. Without this investment, you will not have the strategic or competitive advantage.
None of us are born leaders, and the way to acquiring leadership skills is through multiple channels like:
- On-the-job (experiential) learning.
- Structured, formal learning.
- Semi-structured (Self-Directed) learning.
- Social or collaborative learning.
In this article, I outline how you can use eLearning based training to enhance the impact of your leadership training.
I begin with a set of challenges associated with the design and delivery of leadership trainings and then show you how eLearning can come to your rescue.
Challenge 1: Too many things to do, too little time…
Given the business dynamics, leaders have a lot on their plate and there just isn’t enough time to invest on learning. But the bottom line is that in today’s fast-paced world, the need for continuous learning is essential to sustain success.
The answer lies in using techniques like eLearning to provide leadership trainings that enable them to effectively juggle between their jobs as well as find time to build or hone their leadership skills.
How eLearning would help: eLearning stands out as the preferred mode of learning on account of its strengths that mesh well with the way today’s learners want to learn. The key benefits eLearning offers for leadership training are:
- It provides anytime, anywhere access.
- It can be used to provide a personalized learning plan.
- It offers learners the flexibility to move across devices (smartphones or tablets to laptops or desktops).
- It is self-paced (provides control to the learner to drive the pace to learn).
- It is available on demand.
- It provides training and other learning resources at the time of need, within their workflow.
- Once built, it can be easily deployed to reach a wider audience.
- Provides a consistent messaging.
- Can be updated easily and redeployed quickly.
- Enables organizations to easily track the learning journey.
Furthermore, eLearning enables organizations to address the needs of a multi-generational workforce and factor for globalization challenges with ease.
Challenge 2: Once is not enough—I need more and often…
Successful leaders make an ongoing investment on learning to stay ahead and lead by example. You cannot create leaders by investing on only discrete trainings during the year. Instead, there is a need to provide learning pathways that can connect with learners all through the year and equip them at many levels. They should also foster a spirit of continuous learning.
How eLearning would help: eLearning can be used to provide leadership trainings that will help employees as follows:
- Offer bite-sized, action-oriented formal training that features multiple nuggets connected through a learning path.
- Provide ongoing connects through nuggets for practice and mastery.
- Reinforce acquired learning and avoid the “Forgetting Curve” from setting in.
- Push challenges periodically to stimulate review or further learning.
- Provide ongoing updates to keep them in sync with the latest info.
- Recommend additional reading.
Challenge 3: One size does not fit all – How to address the multiple facets of leadership training
Leadership trainings aren’t for the senior talent alone. It needs to be offered at several junctures during their career and these training needs require different approaches at each level. Take a look at three key levels to see what is needed at each level.
- Early to mid-career leadership training: This is aligned to early talent spotting and grooming them for Team Leads and entry-level managerial positions. The focus at this level is primarily on increasing self-awareness (helping them move from individual contributors to leads/managers) as well as how to motivate and build high-performing teams.
- Mid-career leadership training: At this level, the focus shifts toward improving skills to lead larger teams (may include leading a business unit) and skilling them to understand organizational and business dynamics. At this level, they also need to be upskilled to craft business strategies. Here, training alone would not suffice and there must be provision for Social or Collaborative Learning, Coaching and Mentoring as well.
- Senior-level leadership training: Given the position (Sr. Executive or CXO position), the training needs change dramatically. They now include complete business planning, competition analysis and business strategy, as well as aspects like innovation that are necessary for an organization to create and sustain a differentiator. At this level, the training needs to have a mix of formal learning and Self-Directed Learning. It also needs to have a blend of Coaching and Mentoring.
How eLearning would help: Although eLearning cannot address all the leadership training needs listed above, it can be certainly used to form the core.
- You can design a learning and performance ecosystem to offer the leadership training. This will support a multi-modal approach and will go a long way in fostering a culture of self-directed and continuous learning.
- Techniques like Microlearning can be used to create bite-sized and action-oriented learning nuggets that are connected through a learning pathway for each level.
- You can leverage on Microlearning to offer highly personalized learning pathways (mapping to career pathways).
- You can use the diverse formats of Microlearning (including Video Based Learning) to offer trainings that would resonate with learners at each level. These diverse formats can address different learning styles and the varied preferences of the multi-generational workforce.
- They can have suitable interjections of other approaches like shadowing, collaborative learning, and coaching and mentoring to complete the spectrum.
Some of the eLearning strategies that can be adopted for leadership training across the three levels are:
- Complex Branching Simulations – To stimulate critical thinking and decision making.
- Case Studies – With scenarios for analysis and application.
- Scenarios/Challenges that reflect the job dynamics – To help relate to the situations and gear up for problem solving in a safe environment.
Investing on effective leadership training will certainly ensure better alignment to your business mandate and this will help you sustain your business and strategic advantage.
As I have shown in this article, you can use eLearning to create a successful and effective leadership training.
I hope I have provided adequate pointers that you can use. If you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.