How to Make Leadership Training Work in 2019

By 2020, 50% of the American workforce will be made up of millennial employees. By 2030 that number will rise to 75%. With this shift in the workforce comes new expectations for employee leadership, learning, and development. In this guide, we’ll talk about what leadership training means in 2019, how to be a great leader, and how to train first-time managers and future managers for leadership.

What is leadership training?

Leadership development can take many forms. In a more traditional sense leadership development encompasses the development of skills that those in management positions need in order to effectively lead a team.

Today, many organizations recognize that all members of a team can be leaders, regardless of their role or experience level. Being a leader in 2019 comes down to taking responsibility first for yourself, and then for those around you. Leadership requires a balance of both being and doing. At Verb, this is a pillar of many of our leadership collections. We call it whole person development.

While leadership development and training can take many forms, it’s been proven that a blended learning approach is most successful for concept understanding and retention. The combination of individual micro-learning with text, video, and audio, combined with mentorship and collaborative learning activities gives the best outcome for learners.

What skills and topics should leadership training cover?

Traditionally, leadership training has included more pragmatic professional skills like how to put together a project plan or interview job candidates. In the current day, many employees seek more than management and delegation from their leaders. They’re looking for someone who can help them grow, who can empathize with them, and who can help them develop as a whole person.

leading and managing success Venn diagram

That’s why it’s important to train first-time managers in more than just the traditional hard skills required to execute on a job. Good coaches and managers need to develop as whole people. At Verb, our Foundations of Leading and Managing collection covers the following crucial skills needed for leadership:

  • Supportive leadership
  • Personalized support
  • Supporting people holistically
  • Fast and continuous feedback
  • Deciding how to spend your time
  • How to set expectations
  • Creating a safe environment
  • Ongoing expectation communication
  • How to have an effective one-on-one
  • How to make difficult decisions
  • Fighting indecision
  • Facilitating better decisions
  • Responding to conflict
  • Repeatable processes
  • Avoiding bias in performance reviews
  • The high cost of turnover
  • Tips for hiring the right candidate

By developing your leaders in the skills above, you can guarantee that your leadership team is not only highly effective, but is also made up of emotionally intelligent individuals who know how to connect to, inspire, and develop their direct reports.

If your organization is interested in learning more about how Verb can help train their leaders in both professional and personal skills schedule a demo below!

The importance of continuous learning in leadership training.

We should mention that leadership training should exist as a continuous part of your leadership team’s responsibilities. Leadership development isn’t something you do once and then move on as a great people leader.

As continuous learning becomes more popular, organizations are beginning to understand the value of developing their employees on an ongoing basis.

Considering the fact learners will forget 90% of the information they digest if it isn’t reinforced, it’s easy to make a case for continuous learning within organizations who want to have a strong pipeline of leadership ready employees.

Diagram of Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve
The Ebbinghaus Forgetting Curve demonstrates that learners forget 90% of taught information that isn’t reinforced.

At Verb, our learning and development platform encourages consistent development using short micro-learning activities that can be completed in 5-20 minutes each. Finding quick ways for your team to develop within the flow of work makes it easier for them to commit to continuous learning. Consider the following:

  • Find structured ways to invest in learning and development within your company like implementing a learning and development platform
  • Encourage leaders to get involved with learning by sharing articles, activities within your learning and development platform, or inviting employees to beneficial local events
  • Give your employees time to learn at work regularly. Lack of time is one of the most cited reasons for not participating in learning and development on an ongoing basis

What employees want in a manager in 2019.

Involvement in career and professional growth

As millennials take up a larger and larger portion of the workforce, the needs and wants of the workforce are shifting. Employees want to feel like they’re developing and growing at work and that their organization is making an investment in them.

As a new leader in your organization, it’s important to find ways to connect with your team and be a part of their growth. Help them establish both professional and personal goals, and work with them to find a path to achieve them. In one study, 56% of employees said that they would spend more time learning if their manager suggested a course to improve skills. This is clear evidence that employees want their managers to get involved in their learning and invest in their success.

With Verb, we accomplish this by allowing managers to assign and recommend content they think could help their employees meet personal and professional goals.

Mentorship opportunities

Studies show that employees who partake in mentorship relationships are more likely to get raises and promotions, and have a higher likelihood of staying with their employer for 5 years or more. That statistic applies to both mentor and mentee.

As a new leader in your organization, advocate for a structured mentorship program. With mentorship, employees are happier and more productive, and organizations see lower turnover rates. They also help build relationships within the company which can lead to stronger company culture.

leader mentorship two minds illustration

High-trust work environments

Employees at organizations that display high trust environments show fewer signs of chronic stress and are happier than those who work in low trust environments. Employees want a leader who acts more as a coach than a delegator. When guidance and support are offered over micro-management, employees succeed at higher rates and stay in roles longer, benefitting both employee and organization.

Encourage your leaders to operate with a “trust is given rather than earned, but does need to be maintained” mentality.

Whole person development

Whole person development is a learning and development point of view in which someone must master being and doing in order to be better employees, leaders, and humans. It’s the idea of knowing yourself and others so you can then improve yourself and others.

whole person leadership development explanation chart

Employees want to feel like more than just a number. By taking an interest in their development as whole people, you can demonstrate that you’re there to help them grow both personally and professionally.

Verb’s learning and development platform is focused entirely on whole person development and growth in both personal and professional skill sets to unlock human potential. This way of learning not only leads to more productive teams and better leaders, but it’s great for employee retention and happiness. To check out our whole person content library, schedule a demo with our team.

Leadership styles.

Not all leaders are created equal, and not every employee wants to be managed in the same way. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the most popular leadership styles.

The DISC model, widely popularized in 1928 by psychologist William Moulton Marsten, recognizes four broad categories for human behavior:

  • Dominance (D)
  • Influence (I)
  • Steadiness (S)
  • Conscientiousness (C)
DISC leadership style diagram

Each of these categories corresponds to a different type of leadership style.

  • Dominant leaders often want to change the status quo and are willing to say anything to anybody in front of anyone. 
  • Influencing leaders find interacting with people to be their favorite part of their jobs and often consider themselves charming and charismatic.
  • Steady leaders are often described as calm, patient, and unemotional. They believe that keeping the peace among team members is critical to success.
  • Conscientious leaders prefer to have all the facts before making a decision and would be bothered by assigning a “behavioral type” without first seeing all the background research.

When you’re managing others, it’s important to have empathy so you can understand how your direct reports communicate. If they’re an influencer personality type who loves being social and keeping people happy, giving them hard feedback using a dominant style could rub them the wrong way. Part of becoming a good coach and leader is learning how each of your team members communicates and finding ways to match or adjust to that.

Consider asking your direct reports to take a personality quiz or self-report which communication style they feel most closely represents theirs. Then ask them how they like to give and receive feedback so you can be conscious of their preferences in the future while also helping them become more adaptable in interacting with those who have different communication styles.

Why leadership training matters.

Anyone who’s been in a leadership position knows being good at the day-to-day tasks required to do your job is only half the battle. Having the skills to empower, develop, and connect with employees is equally, if not more, important in a leadership position.

Most of us don’t learn these personal skills in our day to day roles, but they can be easily taught with the right platform and a continuous learning mindset.

Hand lifting up leader illustration

Organizations should be encouraged to develop their entire employee base using whole person development and a focus on the foundations of leading and managing before they’re ever in leadership positions. This practice:

  • Creates an environment where employees feel their growth is invested in
  • Creates more productive, better-communicating teams
  • Provides the organization with a pipeline of leadership ready team members to hire internally

Any person, regardless of role or level, can serve as a leader in their workplace and community. Making a commitment to developing all employees within an organization not only benefits the company with a leadership-ready employee pipeline, but it also creates happier, more loyal employees throughout your organization.

To learn more about how Verb can help your organization train its first-time managers and develop leaders of all levels, schedule a demo.