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7 creative ways to sustain a leader’s skill development

Leaders hold a lot of power in every company. They have a direct impact on the rest of the workforce’s engagement and productivity. However, leaders don’t become leaders overnight. Some may have good characteristics for the position, but continuous skill development plays a big role as well. L&D professionals should encourage this continuous development and sustain it along the way to help leaders make a difference. These techniques allow you to do just that!

1. Create accountability partners

Have participants partner with peers in the session and capitalize on the peer networks they’ll create. Design time for them to build rapport and conduct an activity together. Help them cultivate the informal connections that they’ll need to sustain their learning after class. Being able to hold each other accountable to their commitments will be a strong lever for their skill sustainment.

2. Harness communication

Include a specific call to action within the learning and directly tie it to their existing work. Encourage participants to actively share how they will apply it.

3. Increase sponsor/senior leader visibility

Invite the project sponsor or executive to physically attend the kick-off. Ask the sponsor to teach a section of the program for a strong impact or even encourage the sponsor to drop by for lunch with the participants. The sponsor’s presence, even if brief, goes a long way.

4. Remove adoption barriers and embed the training

Integrate the learning within their work and every day workflow. For example, create the systems for coaching within their work. Create the seamless one click process to use new strategic deliverables.

5. Keep everyone connected

Choose a user friendly mechanism for people to connect. This will encourage more conversation about what they’re learning and learners will enjoy the convenience factor. Examples of mechanisms to use are email, yammer, or monthly calls.

6. Align performance measures

Participants’ new actions need to be reflected in the metrics they’re accountable for. This will reveal their growth and what techniques are working best.

7. Encourage storytelling

To gain traction, ask the participants for their success stories and encourage them to share them widely. Stories stick, provide proof and help motivate other learners.

Unfortunately, some leaders lose vital skills as quickly as they learn them. Your approach to their development now could be the difference between an average leader and a great leader down the road. By encouraging communication and engagement with these seven techniques, you’ll help sustain their skill development to be the best leaders possible.

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