Why Your Organization Should Be Developing Leaders

Constant employee turnover is never a good thing.

You understand how expensive it is to recruit and train new hires.

Chances are, they probably won’t be as capable as the employee you lost, decreasing productivity  –  at least for a time.

But it becomes a big problem when it’s happening over and over again.

The question that begs to be answered is how you can retain employees in a growing job market?

One important way is to invest in developing leaders. There’s a popular meme out right now that shows a snippet of a critical conversation between a CFO and a CEO. It goes something like this:

CFO: “What if we invest in developing our people, and they leave?”

CEO: “What if we don’t invest in their development, and they stay?”

The snippet highlights the critical importance of development  –  Who wants mediocre, underdeveloped people running their company?

No one. And yes, there is always the risk that they will leave.

But consider this:

If an employee had a great experience in your company, grew and developed, and then left, what do you have?

Pick up Karen Hough’s book “Go With It: Embrace the Unexpected to Drive Change” to show you that anyone can learn to be more creative and innovative.

Someone who thinks highly of your company out in the market, a potential ally in the industry, and someone who may even come back to your organization at a later time.  

Why invest in leadership development?

See if this mental tug-of-war sounds familiar:

You want to put money into developing leaders so that they’ll stay at the company, but you’re afraid to invest in developing leaders because they might leave, negating your investment?  

It’s quite the conundrum.

But, what it comes down to is the truth that leadership on all levels is a critical aspect of organizational success.

The reason you should be investing in developing your leaders is so they can….LEAD.

You want your leaders to inspire those on their teams, give encouragement, engage with them and develop those under their charge to be leaders, too.

The result is an entire workforce that feels like they matter and that they are valued.

Specific strategies for training leaders

Let’s take a look at two of the characteristics your leaders should ideally have.

  • Open to talk about employee concerns and aspirations. Performance evaluations can be stressful for employees. Leaders should be taught to open the door for conversations about not only problems, but personal goals and where employees would  like to see themselves.
  • Promote the notion of a career lattice. You want your leaders to be able to express to the employees they manage that interest in a different career path doesn’t necessarily mean they have to leave the company. Sideways moves can be beneficial.

Evaluating leadership development programs

As you work on your leadership development program, think about ways to assess the outcomes.

Of course, you want to be sure that you’re getting an appropriate ROI.

In terms of retaining employees, evaluate the changes after you begin implementing leadership training.

The goal is for the money saved from a reduced turnover rate to be higher than the cost of the training program.

The benefit to employees

Your overall goal is to run a thriving, profitable company.

In many ways, reaching that goal comes down to the satisfaction of your employees.

Training leaders to lead well has advantages for your individual workers, including a greater feeling of confidence in their skills.

An effective leader has the ability to give each person tasks that are suited to their strengths.

It makes sense that a person who is doing a job at which she excels will have a self-assuredness that encourages her to do her best and be more productive.

It also produces a sense of loyalty to the company.

Your employees are less likely to launch a job hunt when they’re using their talents and they feel their efforts are being valued.

The bottom line

A constant flow of employees coming and going isn’t good for your reputation, company morale or your financial return.

Investing in leadership development has far-reaching implications for the success of your business  –  and it will encourage employees to stick around.

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When you invest in developing your leaders, you’re ultimately investing in people and in the future of your business.

Take steps toward implementing a leadership development program in your company.

This article is 100% written by a human named Karen Hough. She is the Founder & CEO of ImprovEdge, in the top 4% of women-owned businesses in the US, a 3-time Amazon bestselling author, Yale grad, wife and mom of three.