Corporate leadership training programs for new leaders present a unique opportunity to create resilient critical thinkers who can adapt to a variety of circumstances. The problem, though, is that learners at this level may still arrive to professional development training programs looking to be inundated with knowledge and are unaware that it’s the application of “how to think” that is the most important outcome of most new leadership and management training programs. Without focusing on this outcome, new leaders may miss out on the most important piece of executive leadership development in their new leader curriculum.
Effective leadership training must take into account that new leaders are a vital element of your organization’s future. They are masters of their craft, have experience to apply to new challenges, and demonstrate quality performance. For these reasons, they have been selected to elevate their skill set and lead others. This means learning how to problem solve on the fly, make decisions that have systemic impact, and effectively lead when oftentimes there is no easy answer. For new leaders, this grey area will be a new frontier that is uncomfortable to navigate.
This new frontier is why organizations need to be methodical when investing in its new leader training and professional development.
At The Regis Company, we work with clients to create powerful corporate leadership training for new leaders. Regardless of industry or delivery method, there are a few fundamentals to new leader programs that will ensure you bring your learners into the next level of System 2 thinking that will support their success.
To assist new leaders in maximizing the investment in their learning and development training programs:
- Recognize and document the changes in behavior that your new leaders need to learn and apply. At The Regis Company, we call these Mental Model Shifts.
- Share these findings with your new leaders in their executive leadership training so they have a frame of reference for how the curriculum is built. Create leadership training material specific to these items, such as learning journals, and encourage leadership and management training participants to reflect on how they will apply their learning. Keep Mental Model Shifts at the forefront of the course and link all of the course materials to the Mental Model Shifts.
- Inform your new leaders that their leadership development training programs will not always have an answer key or suggested solution, and while this may be uncomfortable or perhaps even feel incomplete, it will help them best learn the behaviors that your organization values.
To develop a robust and meaningful new leader course:
- Use real-life case studies or scenarios in the classroom or built into a business simulationto give learners an authentic context. Use stories that show the dynamic approach leaders can take to challenges where there is no “right answer.”
- Craft debrief discussions to focus on the outcomes of decisions and the trade-offs that should be considered when making such decisions. While the same decisions and trade-offs used in the classroom may not be repeated in real life, amplify the importance of the thought processes used in the classroom and give tips on how to apply these same processes on the job.
- Discuss both tangible and intangible business performance analytics that your organization values so that as your new leaders develop and weigh benefits and trade-offs, they make informed decisions that demonstrate positive impact.
Becoming a new leader is an exciting challenge that requires a shift in focus on the job and in learning and development training. Creating new leader programs that focus on mental model shifts, the behaviors, and the skills to become adaptable within your organization will prove to be the most successful. Engage and empower your new leaders by sharing what your organization values and create corporate leadership training programs to achieve positive outcomes in uncertain scenarios. Your new leaders have already come a long way to get where they are – help them continue in the right direction to support prolonged success.
Christine Rasch-Chabot is a Consultant at The Regis Company with experience in learning and development programs in professional service, non-profit, and media industries.