With the work-from-home transformation taking root across the country, there is now much more focus on virtual leadership training. Unfortunately, this is new territory for many organizations, and stumbling on new terrain is not uncommon. To that end, here are eight reasons why virtual leadership training programs often fail.
Mistake #1: One and Done
Many organizations think of leadership development as a one-and-done effort. The reality is leadership development should not be an event, but a process. You need to invest in a comprehensive leadership development process that is proven to be effective and efficient. If you think that a one- or two-day leadership program will produce more-effective leaders, then think again. The reality is that leadership development needs to be much more comprehensive and exist over time to see real behavioral changes and real results.
Mistake #2: Not Supported by Executives
All too often, leadership development is launched within the organization when it is not fully supported by the executive team. The reality is that for leadership development to work at a peak level of efficiency, executive leaders must be involved and engaged with the leadership development program. When employees realize that leadership development is supported by executive management, they are much more likely to buy into the process. When executives participate in the leadership program as a learner, it shows employees that it is very important to invest in their development.
Mistake #3: No Pre- or Post-Assignment
Because leadership development is not an event, but a process, there needs to be pre-assignments before the program commences and post-assignments once the program concludes – as well as assignments between each virtual training session to foster individual learning. Doing this results in significantly improved learning and the development of leadership skills.
Mistake #4: No Positioning by Management
A fundamental element of any virtual leadership program is that every manager in the organization should position the training with his or her direct reports participating in the program so that they know not only why they’re doing it, but also their objectives for the training. In addition, managers and their participating direct reports need to regularly discuss their training, as this drives accountability and learning.
Mistake #5: There is No Measurement
Beyond evaluation sheets, most organizations do not have metrics in place to measure the success of their programs. There are unique methods for measuring the success of leadership development programs that are important to adopt and implement.
Mistake #6: No Plan
Oftentimes, organizations do not have concrete goals and objectives for their virtual training programs. These same organizations struggle with an overall comprehensive holistic approach to leadership development, because – let’s be honest – they don’t have one.
Mistake #7: No Follow Up
If you’ve ever attended a leadership development program and then, at its conclusion, asked, “What’s next?” you’re not alone. It’s not unusual for that question to be met with blank stares because the organization simply hasn’t thought about “what’s next.” If you are going to invest in virtual leadership training, then you must make sure there is an answer to, “what’s next?” In other words, what the next steps are for anyone who has graduated from the program.
Mistake #8: No Accountability
Many times, organizations do not hold participants accountable for completing program assignments. If assignments aren’t being completed, then participants can’t fully learn what they are being taught. Executives must insist that managers hold their staff accountable for the learning that they experienced in the program and for completing their assignments. This ensures that you maximize your investment in a virtual leadership development program.
If you avoid these mistakes, you will be much closer to making sure that your virtual leadership development program is effective and gets great results. If you would like to chat about making your leadership program as effective as possible, reach out to us. We’re always willing to share what we’ve learned over the years.