- IMD Business School

Why leadership skills training is beneficial for your career

Leadership skills training: the essential ingredient for career success

Effective leaders are able to call upon a toolbox full of leadership skills and abilities that allow them to guide both their organization and their team members towards success.

A great way for managers to improve their capabilities, inspire their teams and achieve outstanding business results is through proper leadership skills training. Successful leaders are able to transform organizations, enhance value creation, create efficiencies and engage their employees to deliver better results. Through leadership skills training, managers can learn how to create a vision for their team and how to inspire others to achieve it. They can also learn how to delegate tasks, build trust, and handle conflict.

A good leader should motivate, inspire and help develop those who report to them, while also making sure that the goals of the team align with the larger goals of the organization.

Leadership skills training programs typically offers multiple benefits. Finding the right training program can help you build the skills necessary to advance your career. Leadership skills training typically encourages managers and leaders to:

  • Find new, innovative ways of developing and managing people
  • Challenge themselves and identify who they want to be as a leader
  • Tackle the broader societal issues the face and how leaders contribute to that
  • Develop the emotional intelligence to handle different situations

In this post we’ll detail three key questions:

  1. What are the key benefits of leadership skills training and why should individuals, or organizations be interested?
  2. What are the different situations wherein leadership skills training becomes helpful?
  3. What aspects should you be looking for in leadership skills training programs?

Leadership skills training helps breed a culture of high-performance

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Getting to the top in any organization is no mean feat, staying there is even harder. Leaders who are able to rise through their organization often do so through hard work, dedication and a solid set of skills. However, the journey does not end when you reach the top.

It is imperative as a leader that you are constantly challenging the status quo, and pushing yourself to acquire new skills, or improve existing ones. We live in a perpetually competitive business environment. Pursuing leadership skills training is an essential ingredient to staying relevant. Here are our key advantages of leadership training:

  1. You will be able to formulate and implement effective leadership strategies.
  2. You will develop the capabilities needed to increase your team’s work productivity.
  3. You will explore ways to help you decrease employee turnover and increase engagement, creating a strong and united team.
  4. You will work to identify and improve your leadership style.
  5. You will develop your communication skills, mastering the art of negotiation, influence and conflict management.
  6. You will become more confident as a leader and find new ways of influencing the teams you lead.
  7. You will learn how to effectively connect to people, developing the ability to give constructive feedback, and critically seek the feedback of your team.

A leaders ability to motivate, inspire and guide a team to success takes more than just shouting orders from the sidelines. It requires a deep understanding of human behavior, as well as the ability to manage different personality types.

Explore our range of executive leadership programs »

4 key career stages where leadership skills training is important

Early to mid-career leadership skills training

You are at the earlier stages of your career, in many cases this starts with excelling within a functional capacity, such as Marketing, Finance, IT or Communications. You want to take the next step, moving from functional management to business leadership, this is the ideal time to develop your leadership skills.

At this stage in your career you may have a vision for where you want to be and as you prepare for greater responsibility you need to develop your own leadership style and build self-awareness for the challenges you will face in the future.

Pursuing leadership skills training earlier on in your career is going to provide you with a strong foundation, helping you to develop core elements of how you lead. You are also going to have access to network and learn from others in different industries. Choosing a leadership training provider with a large network and access to different cultures and industries will be of huge benefit.

It is also vital as a leader to learn how to effectively manage your time, and resources. Inevitably as you grow in stature within your organization, so will your responsibilities. Understanding how to assign your time and resources will be critical to your success as a leader.

Mid-career leadership skills training

Your boss has priorities. Your direct reports have questions. Peers and colleagues ask you for help and toss extra projects your way. The result: You regularly get pulled in different directions.

Working hard and helping others has gotten you this far in your career, but now, new skills are required in order to keep advancing. This space is where many executives stagnate, and this can often be linked to a variety of factors – one key one is education.

You have been successful throughout your career, and as you have become more established in your position your organization looks to you to create higher value in a rapidly changing environment. It is important to remember that the skills that got you here may not necessarily be the skills that will keep you here. You have to embrace lifelong learning.

Read more about lifelong learning to drive competitiveness »

Business leadership training can help mid-career managers to create higher value for their company in today’s fast-changing global environment. This career stage is also a good time to consider more in-depth programs such as an Executive MBA.

C-Suite/Senior Executive level leadership skills training

Leading an organization at the highest level is a challenging undertaking. It takes an enormous level of dedication and drive to be successful. Seasoned leaders have spent years honing their skills, and have likely participated in leadership skills training programs.

As a senior executive or C-suite member, you need to maintain your ability to find and leverage new business opportunities, drive innovation, and lead with conviction. This is where training and time for reflection is key. Taking time out to work on yourself will pay dividends in the long-term.

One specific element of leadership skills training at this stage in your career is the opportunity to network. To connect with other senior executives. Here you will be able to share your challenges, and get inputs from others as well as exploring the challenges faced in other industries.

Board Member (or aspiring Board Member) level leadership skills training

You are a board member, or you want to become a board member. As a company director, it is expected that you already possess strong practical and expertise within your sector, in addition to knowing how boards work. Board members are not born with all of the skills they need, this is something that must be developed over time.

Board member training will give you a toolbox of skills, including a better understanding of compliance and performance and an understanding of proper board structures and legal obligations. As well as developing skills in areas such as Digital Transformation, or Sustainability, topics which are becoming increasingly important for board members.

Many boards have failed over the years because they were unable to overcome ‘group think’ – the tendency for individuals from similar backgrounds to think the same way, despite one of the critical functions of the board being to introduce a variety of perspectives into decision-making.

As a board member the decisions you make are critical for your organization, being confident to make those decisions comes from experience, training and expertise.

How to choose a leadership skills training course

Before looking at different leadership courses, think about the specific leadership skills you wish to develop.

For example, do you wish to improve your ability to motivate your team? To resolve conflict? Are you looking for training on business leadership? Do you need to build leadership skills in order to do your current job more effectively, or in order to take on a higher position?

The answers to questions like these will help define the exact type of leadership skills training you should look for. It’s important that you are able to identify the motivating factors beforehand and track your progress afterwards in order to assess the impact of your training. Not just how it affected you as a leader, but also how it affected your team, and your organization.

When choosing a training provider, always look for:

  1. A proven track record of success
  2. Offers both standard and customized training programs
  3. Sees training as a process, not an isolated event
  4. Measures effectiveness and impact