Leadership Development

10 Must-have leadership discussion topics for rising talent

Discover why intentional conversations about leadership development are necessary and use our list of 10 essential discussion topics to start preparing your future leaders.

Raja Hashaam Khan

Published on 

March 29, 2023

Updated on 

Time to Read

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Leadership is a vital component of every organization, and as such, it is essential to develop and train employees to become effective leaders. Leadership training can help develop the skills necessary to manage people, resources, and processes.

In fact, according to a recent study by Gallup, only 10% of individuals possess the innate talent to be great managers, meaning the majority of managers need to be trained to develop the skills they need to lead successfully. Without this type of development, an organization can be left with leadership gaps that result in decreased productivity, unintentional shifts in the company culture, and potentially lost profits.

That is why it is crucial to start having intentional conversations about whether or not employees want to move into leadership roles and what it will take to get there.

In this article, we will explore why having leadership discussions are important, and we will provide a list of 10 topics that you should discuss with your team to prepare them for leadership positions.

Why is it important to have leadership discussions with your team?

Having leadership discussions with your team can benefit both the organization and the employees. 

  • For the organization, it helps maintain a strong leadership pipeline, prevent leadership gaps, and improve productivity and profits. 
  • For employees, it helps develop their skills and potential, prepares them for leadership positions, and increases their job satisfaction and engagement. Hence, a win-win for both the organization and the employees.

Moreover, having leadership discussions empowers high-potential employees with the various skills and techniques they need to succeed as leaders.

According to a recent study by Gallup, companies with a highly engaged workforce are 21% more profitable and 17% more productive than those with disengaged staff.

The different leadership topics and development programs can also help new managers understand their roles as leaders and view challenges from a new perspective. 

By discussing the goals and vision of the organization, and how the team can contribute to that, everyone will have a better understanding of the direction of the team and what roles they should play. This can lead to increased motivation, collaboration, and productivity. Therefore, it is crucial to have regular leadership discussions with your team.

10 topics you should discuss with your team to prepare them for leadership positions

Leadership discussion can help existing, new, and aspiring leaders improve their leadership skills and potential, ultimately benefiting the organization's success. By discussing thoughtful leadership topics, leaders can develop a deeper understanding of the complexities of leadership and hone their abilities to manage and motivate their teams effectively.

Leadership training help leaders identify and address problems in their teams, better understand the needs of their team members, resolve conflicts, and create an environment where team members can collaborate and grow.

Here are 10 critical leadership training topics that can prepare your employees for leadership positions.

1. Employee wellbeing

Leadership is not just about achieving results; it’s also about taking care of your team members' well-being. Therefore, it is essential to discuss this topic with your team to ensure that they understand the importance of taking care of their physical and mental health. 

This is especially true when it comes to maintaining a healthy team dynamic and achieving success together - the leader's role is essential in setting the tone here.

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • What steps can leaders take to promote a healthy work-life balance for employees?
  • How can leaders create a workplace culture that prioritizes mental health?
  • In what ways can leaders help employees cope with stress and burnout?
  • What are some strategies leaders can use to support employees' physical health?
  • How can leaders ensure that employees feel valued and supported in their personal and professional lives?

2. Employee Experience

The employee experience is the sum of all the interactions an employee has with an organization, from the onboarding process to daily work activities. Leaders must understand the employee experience to create a positive work environment that fosters growth, development, and job satisfaction. 

This will ultimately result in higher productivity, reduced turnover, and an overall better work culture. Organizations should prioritize employee experience discussions among their leaders and make strategic improvements to ensure they are attracting and retaining the best talent.

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • How can leaders create a positive employee experience that fosters engagement and motivation?
  • What are some ways leaders can gather feedback from employees to improve their experience?
  • How can leaders promote a sense of belonging and community among employees?
  • In what ways can leaders help employees develop professionally and advance their careers?
  • How can leaders create a culture of recognition and celebration for employees' accomplishments?

3. Mentoring to improve employee performance

Mentoring is an essential tool for improving employee performance. Leaders who know how to mentor and coach their team members can identify areas for improvement and provide guidance and support to help their team members reach their full potential. 

They can also serve as a sounding board for employees, offering insight and advice on challenging projects. Right mentoring strategies can help build confidence and foster positive relationships between employees and leaders, resulting in a more productive and cohesive workplace.

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • What are the benefits of mentoring for both mentors and mentees?
  • How can leaders identify employees who would benefit from a mentoring relationship?
  • What skills and qualities make for an effective mentor?
  • How can mentors and mentees build a successful relationship?
  • What are the best ways to support your mentee in reaching their goals?
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4. Innovation

Leaders who prioritize innovation can help their organizations stay ahead of the competition, adapt to changes in the market, and create new opportunities for growth. In these discussions, leaders can explore strategies for fostering a culture of innovation, encouraging creativity and risk-taking, and implementing processes to support and embrace innovation and new ideas. 

By investing in these activities, leaders can ensure that their organizations can remain at the top of the market and capitalize on potential future successes. 

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • How can leaders foster a culture of innovation within their teams and organizations?
  • What are some strategies for generating and evaluating new ideas?
  • How can leaders overcome resistance to change and encourage experimentation?
  • How can leaders balance the need for innovation with the need for stability and consistency?
  • What are some common pitfalls to avoid when pursuing innovation?

5. Diversity, equity, and inclusion

Leaders who promote diversity, equity, and inclusion can help to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace where all employees feel valued, respected, and supported. By embracing diversity, leaders can foster an environment of understanding and appreciation for different perspectives and backgrounds. 

This will create a culture of inclusivity and respect that encourages collaboration and dialogue among employees, which can lead to greater productivity. Furthermore, leaders can explore strategies for building a diverse and inclusive workforce, addressing unconscious bias, promoting equity and fairness, and creating a culture of belonging.

 Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • How can leaders promote diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace?
  • What are some strategies for building a more diverse and inclusive workforce?
  • How can leaders ensure that all employees feel valued and included?
  • In what ways can leaders address systemic inequalities and biases?
  • How can leaders hold themselves and others accountable for creating a more equitable workplace?

6. Effective virtual leadership

With the rise of remote work and virtual teams, effective virtual leadership is more important than ever. Leaders who can effectively lead and manage remote teams can help to maintain consistency in performance, engagement, and collaboration across geographies and time zones. 

They can explore best practices for virtual leadership, including communication, trust-building, and team-building strategies. Leaders also need to think about how to reduce the feeling of isolation among remote workers, and how to create a sense of belonging in a virtual team. 

They should focus on creating a culture of open communication and trust, and consider strategies such as regular check-ins and online team activities.

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • What are some unique challenges of leading a virtual team, and how can leaders overcome them?
  • How can leaders build trust and rapport with remote team members, and what communication strategies are most effective?
  • How can leaders ensure that remote team members feel connected to the organization's culture and values?
  • What role do technology and tools play in effective virtual leadership, and how can leaders choose and implement them?
  • How can leaders measure the effectiveness of virtual leadership, and what metrics are most important?

7. Problem-solving

Leaders who are great problem-solvers can help their organizations overcome challenges, adapt to changes, and identify new opportunities for growth. Such leaders know how to explore problem-solving frameworks, strategies for identifying and analyzing problems, and techniques for generating and evaluating solutions. 

These attributes make great leaders invaluable to their teams and organizations and lead their groups to success.

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • What is your approach to problem-solving?
  • What are some common barriers to effective problem-solving, and how can leaders overcome them?
  • How can leaders create a culture of problem-solving and innovation in their organizations?
  • What are some strategies for generating creative solutions to complex problems?
  • How can leaders measure the success of their problem-solving efforts, and what metrics are most important?

8. Project planning and delegation 

Effective project planning and delegation are must-have skills for leaders who want to achieve their goals and objectives. 

Project planning allows leaders to break down complex tasks into smaller, more manageable ones, while delegation allows them to assign specific tasks to team members and ensure that they are completed in a timely manner. 

Both of these skills help leaders to ensure that their goals and objectives are met. Moreover, help them keep their teams on track and ensure successful project completion.

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • What is your approach to project planning?
  • How can leaders ensure that projects are aligned with the organization's goals and priorities?
  • What are some strategies for delegating tasks and responsibilities effectively, and how can leaders ensure accountability and ownership?
  • What are some common pitfalls of project planning and delegation, and how can leaders avoid them?
  • How can leaders measure the success of their project planning and delegation efforts, and what metrics are most important?

9. Conflict resolution

Leaders who are skilled in conflict resolution can help to facilitate conversations between parties in dispute, create a safe space for open dialogue, enhance team dynamics, and provide guidance on how to work collaboratively towards a resolution. 

They can also help to build mutual understanding and practice empathy between the parties, which is essential for a successful outcome.

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • What is your approach to conflict resolution?
  • What are some common sources of workplace conflict, and how can leaders address them?
  • What are some strategies for resolving conflicts in a constructive and collaborative manner?
  • How can leaders create a culture of open communication and mutual respect to prevent conflicts from arising in the first place?
  • How can leaders measure the success of their conflict resolution efforts, and what metrics are most important?

10. Inspiring and influencing your team

Leaders who live by example can inspire and influence their teams which helps to create a positive work culture and motivate employees to achieve big. Leaders must use their own lived experiences to show employees that it is possible to achieve big and drive meaningful change. 

This can help to build a sense of unity and collaboration in the workplace and create an environment that encourages employees to work harder and strive for excellence.

Here are some questions to provoke thoughtful discussion:

  • What is your leadership style?
  • What are some strategies for motivating and engaging employees, and how can leaders tailor these strategies to individual employees?
  • How can leaders create a compelling vision for the organization, and how can they communicate this vision effectively to their team?
  • What are some common challenges of inspiring and influencing a team, and how can leaders overcome them?

Are you looking to prepare your team for leadership positions? Together can help

By engaging in intentional conversations about leadership, teams can improve their skills, identify potential leaders, and ultimately contribute to the success of the organization. 

The 10 leadership discussion topics discussed in this article can serve as a starting point for leaders looking to improve their team's performance and prepare employees for leadership positions.

And this is where Together can help. Together’s mentoring platform includes templated mentoring discussion templates to help build leaders who will not only walk the talk but also build a coaching culture for future leaders.

Learn more about Together’s mentoring platform and start your own program for free today.

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