Building an Effective Leadership Development Program

Effective Leadership Program

Let’s talk about leadership development for a moment. It’s certainly no secret of the importance for any organization to provide professional growth opportunities for employees and to develop its future leaders of tomorrow.  With the right resources, training, and guidance, employees will be prepared to navigate the roadmap of Leadership Development success.

There is an important question that needs to be asked as you evaluate existing programs and look to identify new areas of leadership opportunities for employees.

Are you satisfied with the results of your Leadership Programs? If not, you are not alone.

Brandon Hall Group’s annual 2017 Leadership Development study[i] revealed some interesting results. The study discovered that less than two-fifths of organizations believed their Leadership Development programs were effective. The lack of results spanned across all levels of leadership, including executive management, senior management, mid-level management, supervisor level, and high-potentials.

Key research from this Leadership Development study also discovered the following:

  • 68% of organizations consider leadership development critical to their business strategies, yet only 20% believe their Leadership Development program has a significant impact on business results
  • 56% believed coaching and mentoring was needed to develop leaders and planned to increase their use
  • 47% of organizations believed they needed assessments to understand leadership gaps

Causes of ineffective Leadership Development Programs

Time constraints, financial resources, and shortage of resources are the top barriers for organizations, but several other factors are contributing to ineffective Leadership Development Programs, as seen below.

Approaches to an Effective Leadership Program

While there is no magic formula or “one size fits all” approach to a successful Leadership Development Program, one can at least look at some effective components of Leadership Development.Does it Work?

Let’s look at a Leadership Program with a proven example of success. The Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Council (GSKWRC) struggled with an ineffective leadership program and implemented many of highly effective Leadership Development strategies outlined above. The Council developed a customized Leadership Program comprised of instructor-led training, behavioral coaching, needs assessment, and small group reinforcement learning sessions.

The Program was delivered with the following:

  • An employee needs assessment and multi-generational evaluation tools, including individual interviews and focus groups to determine training needs
  • Leadership development tools, including discussion forums, a monthly leadership development book club, and role-playing activities
  • Coaching models, including a series of professional communication classes
  • Strengths assessment and development tools

In this case, the strategies to developing a successful Leadership Development did work with the Girl Scouts. The GSKWRC completely transformed its leadership culture with amazing results.

To learn more about how they designed and delivered a successful Leadership Development Program to train Council managers to build a workplace culture of inspiration, read their award-winning story. You may find some helpful strategies for developing an effective Leadership Development Program for your own organization. Just remember, you are not alone, but refining and building an effective Leadership Development Program can be done with tremendous results.

Susan Douglas, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Kentucky’s Wilderness Road Council, summarizes the success of the Leadership Development Program by saying, “One of the greatest achievements of our organizational transformation is to see first-hand the professional growth of our staff.”

Visit our Leadership Development page to see how we can help your organization on training its executives. 


[i] http://images.ttacorp.com/linktracker.aspx?u=http://images.ttacorp.com/email/Collateral/LeadershipResearchBrief – GirlScoutsTTA.pdf&B=LeadershipResearcheBook