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Training is the cornerstone that facilitates leadership and promotes organizational success. Without an effective leadership training program, a company may face challenges associated with aligning organization intentions with employee desires. According to Leonard (2017), a common criticism of a specific leadership program is that they are often too abstract.
A program containing only practical leadership theory limits the outcome and does not produce skills and competencies. Therefore, leadership development programs require more than theory. Instead, the program must offer methods to generate, develop, and produce the desired outcome through practical applications. Practical applications develop effective leadership by honing their skills to achieve organizational results.
To develop leaders, having a standardized training agenda becomes necessary to support larger organizations. For example, having 30 management and executive positions that incorporate three departments suggests implementing or revising a leadership program. Sales, marketing, and finance must solve problems employing a collaborative effort to carry out department objectives that align with the company goal.
The challenges elevate further as a company expands outside the United States across the border into Canada and Mexico. Therefore, having a comprehensive leadership program becomes necessary to expand into these markets.
This article highlights whether a leadership program should include options to enhance problem-solving skills and include mechanisms to develop influential leaders. The leadership mechanisms include directive, transactional, transformational, and empowering. Aligning each leadership type with the specific function presents a method to solve problems, manage conflicts, and building teams.
Leadership Development Strategy
Advancing a leadership program to fulfill the company strategy remains a critical ingredient for success (Pasmore, 2014). A leadership position is a title and requires more to enable success. Success engages collaborative efforts to develop solutions that promote the organization. Kirchner and Akdere (2014) mention leadership depends on developing relationships within and outside of the organization.
Collaboration requires all leaders to pull together their cooperative actions to support the organization (Pasmoer, 2014). Therefore, commitment to work together becomes necessary to develop a leadership strategy that embraces the organizational culture (Kirchner & Akdere, 2014).
Assessing the organizational goals becomes a focus while developing a leadership program. Emphasis requires the leadership development effort to drive and align with the business strategy (Blech, n.d.). Having four departments and expanding into the global market affords leadership provisions to develop this sort of strategy. Leadership is more than the individual assigned to each department.
Leaders must develop relationships that involve understanding other department concerns and their commitments. Pasmore (2014) mentions that commitment supports the organizational culture and promotes an interdependent, boundless, and connected leadership program. The table listed below presents the leadership style and the associated function. Depending on the personnel and function determines the leadership type.
Leadership Type and Functions
Organize, Problem Solve, Inform
Plan, Motivate & Inspire, Network
Consult, Delegate, Conflict and Team Building
The leadership program requires a strategy that allows the selectee to develop experience within each of the leadership elements. Leonard (2017) mentions that leadership elements include directive, transactional, transformational, and empowering. Depending on the employee, leaders must determine the best element to achieve results.
Many leaders empower employees by delegating authority concerning decision-making, sharing information, and asking for input (Lee et al., 2018). Empowering an employee works best while motivating certain types of performance with a particular worker. Empowering requires having a good relationship with trusted employees. Otherwise, the leadership style may have unexpected consequences when the leader and follower relationship does not align (Solomon & Steyn, 2017).
Next, directive leadership provides subordinates with precise guidance to achieve results. According to Zareen et al. (2015), transactional leadership emphasizes the leader and follower exchanges. This leadership style communicates with the follower to describe what they should do and complete the task. Transactional leadership has the most significant impact on transformational leadership, considering the employees’ motivation.
Next, transformational leadership plans an understanding by increasing awareness of organizational issues. Each style fosters inspiration and anticipation to achieve the company’s aim
Plan to Evaluate Leadership Capabilities Through an Assessment Tool
Assessment tools help identify the characteristics of an employee and determine whether they will perform as a leader (Flanders, 2008). Having this capability to determine a leader’s success through an assessment tool is a powerful feature to add to the program.
Two assessment tools include leadership development and emotional intelligence. According to Cumberlander (2017), emotional intelligence tools identify influential leaders. It identifies the effects and level the person will have while leading the organization.
Beforehand, identifying leaders seems impressive to provide the company with a peek at the person before offering a leadership position. Cumberlander (2017) mentions an emotional intelligence tool helps a company notice the employee satisfaction and retention implications. Higher scores suggest an effective leader is worth their weight within the organization.
Next, development tools support the identification of leadership qualities related to the person’s ability. According to Bennett and Williams (2019), they have found situational judgment testing as a reliable and valid assessment tool. The tool aids in assessing an applicant who has leadership potential to shape the future (Bennett & Williams, 2019).
Leadership Development Methods
According to Kolzow (2014), leadership development methods produce positive results. The methods focus on a person’s contributions and achievements that benefit the organization and add value to the workforce. Effective leadership requires results and a vision to shape the organization’s future. Leadership development methods must include problem-solving skills in the training. Problem-solving skills allow leaders to help people and solve problems to resolve conflicts (Kolzow, 2014).
Separate issues exist within each of the departments, and the training program supports leaders with their problem-solving skills. According to Consoy (2017), leadership training is necessary to improve problem-solving skills. Therefore, employees who participate in a leadership program must increase their proficiency in solving issues they encounter (Consoy, 2017). Overcoming obstacles suggests that the leadership program should build upon problem-solving skills to produce positive results.
Leadership requires inspiring and motivating people. Herb Kelleher from Southwest Airlines (SWA) provided a model of servant leadership by valuing people. According to Irving (2019), most leaders acknowledge employee value, although not all executives prioritize people as individuals. SWA leadership focused on people as individuals, whether executive or ramp agents at the boarding gate.
Leaders who align individuals with an appropriate leadership style present merit to lead people as a group. Understanding the leadership style that aligns with the associated functions presents a path toward success with people and the organization.
Leadership Program Effort
Developing a formal leadership development program will provide benefits to the organization. According to Lamb (2020), a leadership development program builds a team of promotable employees and attracts new hires. Development programs provide an option to foster a team-oriented work environment. Leadership within an organization requires talent. To develop the skill, knowledge, and ability, the company must provide tools and a system to use leadership.
Using an assessment tool to identify a leader’s success is a crucial feature. Creating a leadership program will require on-the-job training, shadowing, and coaching. Each element of the program provides a path to build upon the leadership foundation. Thereby, developing a solid foundation enhances problem-solving skills to advance the company through its leadership efforts.
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