Creating leadership programmes that work

Updated: Jun 20, 2019


There is a bewildering array of leadership development programmes out there, for all firms’ budgets, sizes and industries. This means that it’s not always clear what’s the right fit for you. Below are five diagnostic questions that will help HR managers to work out what might be right for their firm, right now.


1. Do you want to tell people how to lead, or let them explore what might be right for them?

This can be quite a divisive question. Are you, as a firm, looking to develop a particular type

of leader, such as those who are very approachable or forthright or some other quality, OR,

are you looking to help people lead in a way that is right for them? If you’re looking for the

former, then a leadership programme that only looks at one approach, from one

perspective, could be good for you.


However, if you want people to feel more comfortable in their leadership role, you will want

to help them to explore a range of different perspectives and then support them with the

choice that they take. In this case, you’ll want to look for a programme that is quite broad.

That doesn’t mean the programme has to be long – a day would be enough to go through

key approaches to leading and support people in finding one that works for them.


2. What’s the leader profile?

In particular, you’ll want to think about how experienced the leaders already are – have they

been in a leadership position for more than three years, and so are they quite confident with

what they are doing, and so just need their skills honing? Or are they newer to leadership

and need a good grounding so that they can feel confident in getting started? Being able to

answer this question will help you to make sure the training you’re going to offer is pitched

at the right level.


3. How diverse is your organisation?

If your company is, relatively-speaking, quite mono-cultural, then having a focus on how

different cultures like to lead, and be lead, will be less important. However, in an

increasingly globalised world, this is less and less likely to be the case. If you have a range of

backgrounds in the firm, a leadership programme which is culturally sensitive will be

important to get the most out of your leaders and their followers.


4. What’s your timescale?

Is this an organisational objective that you need to prioritise, or is it one that you have some

time to make sure you get it right? If it’s the former, you’re going to be better looking for an

off-the-shelf programme that fits for your firm, or something that is only marginally tailored

to you. This can provide results quickly. However, if you’re looking for something that is very

specific and tailored to your setting, then you may need something more bespoke, and this

should take a bit longer to produce. A good trainer will spend some time getting to know

your company and its specific needs, and advising you on what such a leadership

programme might look like.


5. What’s your budget?

There are leadership training programmes for all budgets – from half-day courses that

provide a good introduction, or top-up, all the way to year-long semi-immersive

programmes that are totally designed around your leaders and your aims as an organisation.

A long, bespoke programme can obviously have more impact, but will have a higher cost

attached. That isn’t to underplay the value that a short, off-the-shelf course can have for

sparking conversations and changed approaches to leadership.


Whatever your situation, if you would like more advice, please do get in touch. We can offer Courses in leadership development ranging from half-day introduction to the topic for new leaders, all the way to bespoke, highly-immersive Bespoke Programmes that involve lots of work with your leaders to develop their skills and leadership behaviours.

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