Leadership Training Pros and Cons: Is It Really Worth It?
In the world of business, there are endless opportunities for continued learning and training. One of the most talked about is leadership training. For a long time, leadership training was considered to be a great way to help employees—at every level in a company—to take ownership, develop advancement potential, and strengthen their ability to work effectively with others.
More recently, however, questions have been raised about the effectiveness of leadership training, especially when compared to its (often steep) cost.
Today, we’re taking a look at some of the pros and cons of leadership training, to help you decide if it’s something your staff could benefit from, or if it would just be a waste of your resources.
Leadership training is inspiring. A general consensus among attendees of leadership training is that the training leaves you feeling motivated and inspired. Such presentations are often energetic and compelling, and could help your employees reignite their desire to do great work for your company.
Leadership training shows an investment in your employees. Employees like to know that their employers care about them and their future. Sending them to leadership training sends the message that you want to help them succeed in the company, and in their career.
Leadership training emphasizes a culture of progress. Continual learning is important for companies who value progress and improvement. Like other training options, leadership training exhibits your commitment to growth, and communicates to your employees that this continued education is part of their job.
Leadership training can improve performance. There are definitely caveats to this (we’ll get to those in a minute), but when it’s done right, leadership training can make a difference in employee performance, staff morale, and even profitability.
Leadership training can be costly. According to a 2012 study cited by this article, American companies spend about $14 billion annually on leadership development programs. Whether they’re buying books, registering employees for webinars, sending people to conferences, or hiring a team to come to them and do a full-blown leadership analysis, the money spent on leadership training adds up. If you aren’t sure that you’ll get a return on that investment, it might not be the best choice for you.
Leadership training is only one step. Too many companies think that if they can just get everyone to take one leadership training course, then they’ll know everything they need to know. Unfortunately, this is not the case. If you are really going to develop leaders in your company, it will take a lot of time and effort. And if you do utilize leadership training, you will need to put what you’ve learned into practice and figure out how those concepts will fit into your company, specifically. If you aren’t willing to commit to long-term effort, leadership training will likely be useless.
Leadership training is often generalized. Many leadership training programs are trying to be a one-size-fits-all solution for companies. That is, they aren’t tailored to your company’s specific needs. While a lot of this general information is still good and useful, it won’t be nearly as powerful as training that is exactly what your team needs to hear, and that addresses your concerns. Of course, personalized training can be more expensive, so it’s definitely a trade-off.
Leadership is hard to measure. How are you going to know if the leadership training worked? Often, leadership qualities, attitudes, and behaviors are difficult to measure, or even to observe. Unless you’re very careful about establishing a way to know whether or not the training is working, you might be wasting your time doing the training at all.
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Leadership training can be a useful tool for helping your employees stay motivated and improving performance, but it can also be a waste of time and money if not done properly. These pros and cons should help you as you decide whether or not to pursue leadership training opportunities for your staff.
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