leadership development

Leadership Training for Managers: How To Empower Your Team and Drive Success

Empower managers with leadership training to boost team performance, reduce turnover, and drive success. Learn the benefits and how to implement effective programs.

Matthew Reeves

CEO of Together

Published on 

June 14, 2024

Updated on 

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More than 50% of companies spend less than $500 per leader when it comes to leadership development, which is why only 12% hit the mark when it comes to developing future leaders.

Think about it. What happens when a leader resigns, retires, or becomes suddenly unavailable? Some companies have a succession plan in place, but most scramble to quickly recruit someone new to take on the role. The only problem is – a new leader from the outside faces many challenges. It can take them weeks, if not months, to fill in the shoes of their predecessor.

The solution is to promote from within the company. And to do that, you need to invest in leadership training for managers.

What is leadership training for managers?

Leadership training for managers is a structured program designed to equip managers with the tools and knowledge needed to lead their teams more effectively, build a positive work environment, and drive organizational success. It focuses on developing key skills such as effective communication, decision-making, team building, and conflict resolution.

Why is leadership training important for managers?

By investing in leadership training, organizations prepare their managers to handle the challenges of their roles, reduce employee turnover, and promote a culture of continuous learning and development. This investment leads to higher employee satisfaction, improved team performance, and overall organizational growth.

Also, organizations that invest in leadership training for managers can promote leaders from within and always have a succession plan in place. They avoid crises related to leadership turnover, because when a leader leaves or retires, others are trained and prepared to take their place.

Benefits of leadership training for managers

Creating a leadership training program for managers requires dedicated resources, and most organizations don’t really see the value in using up these resources when they can be used for other types of training. However, this investment is worth it because it results in:

Enhanced team performance

Managers that receive leadership training have improved communication skills, better decision-making capabilities, and enhanced conflict resolution abilities. Such managers create a more cohesive and motivated team. They understand their team members' strengths and weaknesses, and allocate tasks more efficiently. As a result, teams become more productive, work better together, and achieve their goals more efficiently.

Reduced employee turnover

People don't leave jobs, they leave managers. Managers can make or break employee retention through their abilities to build relationships, address employee concerns, and give feedback.

Leadership training equips managers with the skills to build stronger relationships with their team members. Trained managers address employee concerns more effectively and provide the guidance and feedback necessary for professional growth. This positive interaction reduces frustration and dissatisfaction among employees, leading to lower turnover rates.

Improved employee satisfaction

Managers who undergo leadership training are better prepared to create a positive and engaging work environment. They learn how to recognize and reward employee contributions, promote a healthy work-life balance, and address issues proactively. These managers are adept at motivating their teams and providing clear direction, which leads to higher levels of job satisfaction.

Career advancement

Leadership training benefits the organization and also supports managers in their personal career development. By honing their leadership skills, managers become more effective and confident in their roles, making them strong candidates for higher-level positions within the company. This investment in their professional growth opens up new opportunities for career advancement, encouraging them to stay with the organization and contribute at a higher level.

Organizational growth

Investing in leadership training has a ripple effect that extends beyond individual managers and their teams. It promotes a culture of continuous improvement and innovation throughout the organization. 

Trained leaders are better equipped to implement strategic initiatives, drive change, and inspire their teams to reach new heights. This leads to greater organizational agility and the ability to capitalize on new opportunities. As managers grow in their leadership capabilities, the entire organization benefits from improved performance, higher employee engagement, and sustained growth.

How to implement an effective leadership training program

Now that you know the benefits of leadership training for managers, it is time to create a training program to turn the managers of today into leaders of tomorrow.

Conduct a leadership skills gap analysis

Identify the current skills of your managers versus the skills needed for the future. To do this, you will need to:

  • Identify the key skills required for effective leadership within your organization. For leadership, these competencies include strategic thinking, communication, conflict resolution, and team management.
  • Evaluate the current skill levels of your managers using tools such as surveys, performance reviews, and 360-degree feedback.
  • Compare the current competencies of your managers with the desired competencies.
  • Determine which skill gaps are most critical to address based on your organization’s strategic goals.

All of the above will lead to a targeted development program to address the identified skill gaps.

Create a leadership development community

In addition to the development program, build a leadership development community. This community will create a supportive environment where managers can learn from each other and grow together. To do this:

  • Start by forming a core group of interested managers. Choose a mix of experienced leaders and emerging managers to get diverse perspectives.
  • Schedule monthly or quarterly meetings where managers can share experiences, challenges, and best practices. Use these sessions to discuss real-world problems and brainstorm solutions.
  • Use tools like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or a dedicated forum for continuous interaction. Encourage members to share articles, books, and resources related to leadership.
  • Pair experienced leaders with less experienced managers. This allows for knowledge transfer and personal growth. Encourage mentors to share their insights and provide constructive feedback.

In addition to the above, organize workshops and seminars. Bring in external experts to conduct training sessions on specific leadership topics. Use these events to introduce new concepts and techniques.

Focus on emotional intelligence (EQ)

Managers need emotional intelligence to lead with empathy, build stronger relationships, and create a positive work environment. To train your managers in emotional intelligence, take the following steps:

  • Use tools like the Emotional Intelligence Appraisal to measure EQ levels. This will give you a baseline and help track progress over time.
  • Encourage managers to keep a journal of their daily interactions and emotions. Reflecting on these entries helps identify emotional triggers and patterns.
  • Promote empathy through active listening exercises. For example, you can arrange meetings where managers have to listen without interrupting and focus on the speaker’s perspective and feelings.
  • Create a safe space for managers to receive constructive feedback on their emotional responses and interactions. This helps them understand how their emotions affect others.
  • Offer workshops on conflict resolution. Teach managers how to navigate difficult conversations and resolve conflicts empathetically and effectively.

In addition to the above, encourage your managers to take up meditation or deep breathing exercises. These techniques will help managers stay calm and focused, and improve their ability to handle stress.

Include resilience and adaptability training

Managers need resilience and adaptability to navigate and lead through change, handle stress, and maintain productivity under pressure. Most people think of resilience and adaptability as natural abilities that some have and others don’t. But, both of these qualities can be taught, and they should be part of your leadership training programs for managers. To train your managers in resilience and adaptability, take the following steps:

  • Present managers with real-world challenges and have them develop strategies to navigate these situations. This will help build problem-solving skills and adaptability.
  • Promote a growth mindset. Encourage managers to see setbacks as learning opportunities. Use case studies of leaders who have successfully adapted to change.
  • Create support networks where managers can share their challenges and solutions. You can use the leadership development community for this purpose.
  • Introduce role playing exercises and simulations that require managers to adapt quickly to new information or changes.

Use the Connor-Davidson Resilience Scale (CD-RISC) to measure resilience in your managers. This scale is well-regarded for its strong psychometric properties and its broad application across different populations. 

To measure adaptability, use the Adaptability Quotient (AQ) Assessment in combination with Adaptive Performance Scale. The AQ assessment provides a well-rounded view of a manager's adaptability by measuring their mindset and ability to unlearn. The adaptive performance scale helps you see how they’d perform in unpredictable situations and emergencies. Use these assessments at the beginning, middle, and end of your training program to gauge its effectiveness.

Encourage shadowing and reverse mentoring

Through shadowing and reverse mentoring, you create a culture where junior and senior managers benefit from each other’s knowledge and experiences. This will lead to a more dynamic and adaptable leadership team. To make this a part of your leadership training, use the following tactics:

  • Implement shadowing opportunities where managers can observe senior leaders. Let them observe daily routines, decision-making processes, and leadership styles.
  • Match younger, tech-savvy employees with senior managers. Encourage them to share knowledge about new technologies, social media, and current trends.

Set clear goals for both shadowing and reverse mentoring. Define what participants should learn and achieve. Regularly review progress and provide feedback. This ensures the programs are beneficial for both mentors and mentees.

Use Together for effective leadership training: Transforming managers into leaders

Together is a mentorship platform designed to enhance leadership training by connecting managers with experienced mentors. It offers structured programs that focus on skill development, professional growth, and effective leadership practices. Use Together to enhance your leadership training for managers with the help of features like:

  • Customized mentorship programs – Together gives you the ability to tailor mentorship programs in a way that aligns with your organization’s specific needs. 
  • Advanced pairing algorithm – Pair managers with suitable mentors through Together’s pairing algorithm and accelerate leadership development.
  • Real-time feedback and progress tracking – Together allows for real-time feedback from mentors and progress tracking for mentees.
  • Peer learning and networking opportunities – Through Colleague Connect, Together facilitates peer learning by connecting people across the organization. This network provides additional support and insights in a collaborative learning environment.

Through Together, organizations can enhance engagement and retention among managers. The platform’s interactive and supportive environment makes learning more enjoyable and effective. This environment makes managers more likely to stay committed to their development, resulting in better leadership and lower turnover rates. If you want to see the platform in action, book a demo or try it for free today.

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