#3 Podcast – 183 – What Makes Leadership Development Programs Succeed?

In this episode Ally and Dom discuss what makes leadership development programs succeed. Harvard Business Review recently identified which programs worked and why. The study was based on 6 leadership programs where 1000 people participated and their recognition on whether or not they fostered engagement and effectiveness. Ally and Dom breakdown the 7 tips from the study and evaluated which leadership programs failed and which ones succeeded.

The key findings highlighted the need to:

  1. Focus on whole person growth – a need for less learning about specific tactical skills and more cultivating broad capabilities such as self-awareness and resistance to adapt to ongoing and dynamic changes. Ally noted how the LSI is a tool that shines a light on self-awareness – that being effective at life spills over to work and all areas of your life.
  2. Provide opportunities for self-reflection and meaning making. What are the main ways leadership offers value to employees? Often allowing staff to take a break from the daily grind and reorientate self, work, and life offers a renewed sense of purpose. Offering a time to reflect on why I am here, and how I show up in is key. Evaluating and synergising wellbeing with effectiveness. Giving employees structured time to reflect on their own self-purpose is crucial.
  3. Offer targeted programs for employees to support with chronic stress – giving participants a new sense of direction and promotion of happiness. Prioritise leader development in times of acute and chronic stress helps bolster psychological resources and support.
  4. Not underestimating short and intensive programmes – like a shot of instant vitamin C, this can promote therapeutic mental health and well-being. You can get a lot done in a short amount of time!
  5. Acknowledge and address psychological barriers to growth – fostering more opportunities and openness to self-improvement. Focus on the ongoing pursuit of self-actualisation.
  6. Ensure that short term growth leads to sustained and long-term impact. Continuing to keep the learning top of mind. Effective programs have better results when they build on initial results and keep a focus on building long term change.
  7. Embrace online learning – when remote work becomes the norm. The study found no significant differences in personal growth in online and face-to-face learning.



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