March 22, 2023

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How to Establish a Leadership Development Program

5 min read
Leadership Development Program

It’s a huge order to construct a leadership development program in any firm. It’s especially true if you’re just getting started. While some people will inevitably become champions, the majority of people will be neutral or even dubious about such a project. Moreover, you won’t integrate this into the culture until you start demonstrating outcomes. As a result, be prepared to put in a long-term effort. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

Top-level executive commitment

When questioned, most CEOs say that one of their most valuable assets is their people. However, many of them unexpectedly do not devote much time to “people” or “talent” management, as known in larger firms. For example, take a look at any recent poll of firms considered to excel at leadership development. In that instance, the CEOs of each of them devote a significant amount of time to talent management, sometimes as much as 30% of their time. So, if you want to start a leadership development program, the most crucial thing to do initially is to acquire executive support from the top, from the CEO.

They will have to devote a significant amount of time to the attempt. You will not succeed unless your CEO makes a considerable commitment.

Obtain executive support for the formation of a steering group.

Request that the CEO sponsor a steering committee after they have committed. Several other CEOs and possibly high-potential middle managers could be on the committee. While having HR on the committee is OK, it is critical that the committee not be dominated by HR types. Instead, a committee comprising primarily line managers who are significant influencers should form. They must act as “champions,” selling this as a management-led initiative rather than just another “HR program.”

Examine the requirements of your company.

Attempt to define the needs of the organization. First, determine the most critical positions and the future demand for filling them. Start with those who report directly to the CEO and one level down if you haven’t before. After that, locate your high-potential individuals and collect basic information about them. As a result, you may think of this as a supply and demand study, with the demand representing your current and future needs and the supply being your “bench strength,” or pool of potential candidates.

Investigate the most acceptable practices.

Get the steering committee to examine best practices when beginning a leadership development program. Because these individuals will be the “champions” of your program, it’s only natural that they are well-versed in current best practices. On the Internet, you can get a wealth of knowledge. You may go on-site visits to other organizations in your area or use a conference call to chat with leadership development managers at some leading companies.

The majority of them would gladly spend an hour on the phone discussing best practices. You could also go to an industry or national best practices convention. These frequently host in different parts of the country, and you can attend by paying a small conference fee. When you gain insights into best practices from other organizations, your recommendations will have more credibility when you pitch them to the CEO for approval. Because you’ve done your homework, you’ll be able to act with confidence.

Begin with a few critical initiatives with the most support and work your way up.

Decide which best practices will help your firm the most as you research them. Picking a few core objectives and executing them well can help you lay the basis for your program. You may build it from after that you have a base. Alternatively, if you start with an extensive program with several projects, it may collapse under its weight. So, keep it honest, don’t oversell the program, and focus on a few key activities that have the best possibility of succeeding. A solid leadership development program is a long-term investment, and you should approach it as such.


These are just a few suggestions for getting started with a leadership development program at your company. Although you may be the program’s driving force, keep in mind that this is ultimately a “team” effort. You’ll need the help of people in the company, as well as a significant commitment from your CEO. If you follow these tips, though, you will most likely get off to a terrific start.


What is the goal of a leadership development program?

In leadership development programs, aspiring managers learn to give constructive feedback, solve problems, motivate teams to reach goals, and resolve interpersonal conflicts. In addition, developing excellent communication skills in your managers will benefit your company’s client experience.

What factors should I consider before selecting a leadership program?

  • It must provide instruments for potential leaders to use to advance agendas.
  • Here are five suggestions for selecting the best leadership development program for your company:
  • Leadership is something that can be learned.
  • Use appropriate vocabulary.
  • The top dogs must get involved.
  • Carry it out.
  • Train a varied group of people.

What can you anticipate from a leadership development program?

Leadership training may teach you the abilities you need to lead effectively, including the sometimes tricky talents required to convince and influence others — even those over whom you have little direct responsibility. In addition, leadership development broadens thinking talents, allowing leaders to think more innovatively and creatively.

What are the most common approaches to leadership development?

Formal training, developmental job assignments, 360-degree feedback, executive coaching, and self-directed learning are all methods for developing leaders. These strategies can be used separately, but they are more effective.

Why do leadership development programs fail?

Too much time spent presenting knowledge and content and not enough time to focus on building leaders’ challenging tasks. Most leaders already know what they should be doing; they don’t have the necessary personal development. One of the most common reasons for leadership development failure is a lack of training.

What is core leadership training, exactly?

The initial step in a cadet’s progression through the curriculum is Basic Leadership Training. BLT is a four-day curriculum that teaches cadets about the program’s core values, both literal and figurative, including marching, basic drill, and the concepts of honor, courage, and commitment.