An important strategy for leaders to increase the scale and performance of their organization is to develop other leaders.

    Doing one simple thing can positively influence the success of leadership development

    We get excited when organizational leaders commit to helping people leaders in their teams with the opportunity to improve what they do every day – lead others. More and stronger leaders working together magnifies what every organization can achieve.

    As a senior manager or executive of an organization, the sooner you identify and enable other leaders to join you in pursuing the goals you are striving for, the better the long-term results.


    Does Your Involvement Matter?

    You’ve allocated time and resources to developing and supporting your organization’s leaders. Now what? What are some of the factors at play that can maximize the potential for positive results and more confident leaders? We decided to look into what we are calling “the sponsorship effect”.

    We wondered if the effort put forward by sponsors (leaders or managers of participants of leadership development programs) made a difference? Intuitively we sense it does, but how will this commitment translate to results?

    To help answer this question, we’ve been measuring the impact of active sponsor participation in the development of their people leaders in Stratford’s development programs.

    When determining level and impact of involvement, we asked; Do sponsors engage in the development, ask questions, support demonstration of new skills and approaches, and – most of all – give feedback along the way?


    The Proof is in the Pudding

    We found that every leadership development participant who indicated that their sponsor was actively involved increased their confidence as leaders more than those who indicated that their sponsors were not active.

    Every single one.

    Our measures showed that leadership development participants’ self-assessed confidence in their ability to meet the expectations of their role increased 26% when having an active sponsor participate in their learning, compared to 20% when they were developing on their own.


    Getting the Most out of your Leadership Investment

    Leadership development is an investment, and like any good investment, you want to ensure that you are maximizing the results. To evaluate success, performance needs to be monitored (we describe this more in our blog post about leadership development ROI).

    As sponsors of the participants within a development program (the participant’s manager, HR department, board, etc.) you should be looking to see a return on their investment.

    Checking the markets today… I’d take the 6%!


    About the Author – Dean Fulford, Leadership Development Practice Lead, Stratford

    Dean brings more than 20 years of experience and a deep expertise in leadership development, organizational development and design, project management, process mapping, and best-practice benchmarking activities. With an extensive background in organization development and effectiveness, performance consulting and process improvement, Dean compliments his HR background with strong process management and competency-based project experience. With an Engineering degree he brings a high technical aptitude to his engagements that make him a credible voice with deeply technical clients.

    He is a member of Stratford’s Leadership team, responsible for its Leadership Development practice area, bringing both product innovation and operational effectiveness to these services. Dean has held HR Executive roles in high technology and financial services firms, responsible for design, implementation, and oversight of organizational development, effectiveness and human resource programs at both the local and global levels. Dean’s particular areas of expertise include:

      • Leadership development strategy and program development
      • Instructional design and facilitation; talent management program design and implementation
      • Process design and project management
      • Driving pragmatic, metrics-driven solutions