How To Make Your Leadership Development Training Programs Work In The Hybrid Workplace

Leadership Development Training Programs For Hybrid Workplaces
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Summary: The success of an organization rests on the quality of its leadership. Leaders set the tone, form the culture, and support employee development. In this article, I share strategies for successful leadership training, especially in the hybrid workplace.

Why Is Leadership Development So Important?

Former US Navy SEALs and leadership consultants Jocko Willink and Leif Babin, in their book Extreme Ownership, explain that there are no bad teams, just bad leaders. They write, “Leadership is the single greatest factor in any team’s performance. Whether a team succeeds or fails is all up to the leader. The leader drives performance—or doesn’t.”

But good leadership doesn’t happen by accident. It’s a skill and competency that should be developed like any other vital for success skill on the job. In today’s competitive and constantly evolving business markets, purposeful leadership is more important than ever before. In fact, the hybrid work model requires additional and different leadership competencies, some of which are different from traditional work leadership models.

The current hybrid work model presents two main challenges to traditional leadership development training programs:

  • First, traditional models leverage face-to-face interactions in classroom, coaching, and mentoring settings but they depend on frequent face-to-face training which lacks the agility and sustainability required in today’s volatile world and hybrid workplace.
  • Second, traditional programs don’t account for modern diversity in thought, experience, and accessibility.

A hybrid leadership development training program can successfully accommodate the changed requirements and is advantageous in several ways. It accommodates a more diverse audience group. This diversity includes employees who might now be working mothers, remote employees, people with caregiving responsibilities, or people with disabilities. Traditionally, people who face those challenges have been excluded from leadership programs, but in a hybrid workplace and leadership development model, those challenges can be overcome.

Leadership development training programs can leverage the power of asynchronous elements. In larger organizations, this can include people at various office locations and remote workers to create a richer and more diverse experience for the organization. Hybrid models offer more opportunities for labs, simulations, and individual consumption and evaluation of the learning content. Labs, for example, can be completed by cohorts regardless of the time zone.

Participants can collaborate asynchronously or by video conferencing, working through simulated scenarios to develop plans and implementation strategies. Lastly, a hybrid leadership development training model will drive innovation and creativity. Good leadership develops talent, encourages experimentation and iteration, and leads to innovative ideas and products.

Which Should Be The Key Outcomes Of Leadership Development Training In A Hybrid Workplace?

There are several outcomes to any leadership development program. Among them, consider the following as high-value targets in a hybrid workplace:

  1. The ability to create a strong leadership pipeline by developing core leadership competencies, important for a healthy organizational culture, within aspiring leaders.
  2. Developing skilled leaders which enhances team performance, including project velocity and output, and employee experience by reducing stress, creating opportunities for growth, and developing a more inclusive workforce.
  3. Increasing and enhancing employee engagement. The employees evaluating their employer, or potential employer, as one of the highest valued company components shows the organization's commitment to employee development.
  4. Increased business performance due to the alignment of leadership development programs with the organization’s needs, strategies, and tactics.

How To Make Leadership Development Training Successful In The Hybrid Workplace

A successful leadership development training program that works in the hybrid workplace depends on a few things. First, develop an assessment plan for the leadership development training program. This should not be an afterthought, but instead, it should drive the development of the program. Identify the Key Performance Indicators used to evaluate the success rate of the program, relying heavily on objective measures such as rates of change, number of innovative ideas and plans implemented, and increased revenue.

A program of this nature must be actively supported and sponsored by the executive team. Without the backing of the C-suite, it’s almost impossible for a program to gain traction and maintain momentum. Live sessions, usually facilitated virtually, should be done by members of the C-suite as often as possible. This will challenge aspiring leaders and help them understand the past successes of their firm.

Under the direction of the C-suite, a leadership development training program in the hybrid workplace should consider and align with enterprise goals, strategies, and tactics. It should facilitate learning that develops competencies that enable current or aspiring leaders to be more successful in facing current and future challenges in their industry. Also, ensure that the leadership development training program creates positive employee experiences. This generates a sense of belonging and helps individuals feel valued by the organization. It increases purpose and employee engagement.

As with any change management or process improvement process, adopt an agile mindset, frequently and consistently evaluating the program while making tweaks for improvement and trying incremental experiments. Ensure the honest evaluation of those changes to determine if they should be continued or abandoned. Incorporate leadership competencies specific to a hybrid work model, including a work-from-anywhere mindset. It’s no longer true that work can and should only be done in an office. Many knowledge work employees can work from anywhere if they have a decent internet connection.

It’s critical to ask this question: Does your leadership development training address the aspects mentioned above?

What Strategies Are Important For Leadership Development Training Programs In The Hybrid Workplace?

Because of the nature of a hybrid workplace model, it’s important to consider new and innovative approaches to training, including:

  • A robust coaching, mentor-matching, and mentoring program, including healthy feedback loops.
  • Experiential learning and simulations where participants can generate ideas and implement them in simulated or low-risk environments [1].
  • Skills practice by creating safe practice zones. Participants should be able to practice, fail, and iterate.
  • Personalized learning opportunities, allowing participants to select from a few customizable learning paths according to their individual needs and desires.
  • Microlearning, providing learning objects when and where the learner needs them [2]. These can be particularly effective on the job so that participants can apply and practice what they’re learning.

Parting Thoughts

Leadership sets the direction, tone, and culture in organizations. Unhealthy and weak leadership can mire a firm in bureaucracy and internal politics. Healthy, purposeful leadership, on the other hand, can create a culture of learning, creativity, and innovation. Adapting traditional leadership development training programs to accommodate the hybrid workplace will ensure the success of firms, now and in the future.

I hope the strategies shared in this article provide you with the requisite cues to make your leadership training successful in the hybrid workplace. Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.

References:

[1] 8 Strategies to Integrate Experiential Learning in Workplace Training Programs

[2] 3 Microlearning Strategies to Promote Learning in the Flow of Work

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