In 2024, effective leadership development is crucial for attracting and retaining talent. The best programs offer safe learning spaces, cater to various learning styles, and involve development sponsors. They emphasize the practical application of skills, continuous reflection, and performance monitoring. Discover the impact of such programs, including our recommended Stratford’s Leadership for Success program, in fostering a workplace culture that not only attracts but retains top talent.

    As we step into 2024, organizations of all types continue to face the challenge of attracting and retaining talent. Interestingly as well, as reported by LHH in their Bridging the Leadership Development Gap report, C-Suite leaders also equally rank “buy-in to leadership development” as a top challenge.

    These challenges can be tied together when we look at emerging leaders: they want to be developed and will seek opportunities that help them grow their human skills alongside traditional "hard skills”. Taking this even further is importance of leadership development to the future of organizations, citing improved leadership impacting core business concerns such as leading virtual teams, and providing a channel for knowledge transfer as many current senior leaders are being their transition away from full-time work.

     As you choose to invest in leadership development, we suggest you seek these three features:

    1. The provision of a safe space for leaders to learn, practice and revise leadership habits
    2. Programs that integrate learning of different modes, to allow full engagement of learners with different preferences
    3. A means of engaging the sponsor for the leader’s development 

    What differentiates the most effective programs from other leadership development investment is a commitment to supporting each leader in their own application of the newly acquired habits – programs with built in very specific opportunities to acquire competencies, try them, reflect on the outcome, and try again! The impact of reflection to change in leadership performance is corroborated by our own data as well as a recent study from HBR.

    Lastly, leadership development is an investment and like any good investment, performance needs to be monitored. The best programs plan for and engage the sponsor of the development. This provides sponsors with opportunity to proactively observe, question, support, coach and provide feedback to the leader.

    As a great place to start, check out Stratford’s Leadership for Success program. In L4S we collaborate with the group to lay the “ground rules” for being a performance coach in their own team. Then they get a triple dose of practice: they receive coaching from Certified leadership coaches as they learn, they are provided opportunities to coach their peers, all while they learn the competencies needed to be a highly effective coach on their own!

    Leadership development lays the foundation for great workplace culture that will attract and retain top talent. As Simon Sinek reminds us:

    “The responsibility of a company is to serve the customer. The responsibility of leadership is to serve their people so that their people may better serve the customer. If leaders fail to serve their people first, customer and company will suffer.”