Leadership skills: Drive personal and business performance by boosting leadership skills

Leadership skills are essential for business managers who want to succeed personally and drive success for their organizations. In an uncertain, rapidly evolving business world, leadership skills can determine whether a company flies — or dies. And naturally, the higher up the career ladder you climb, the more important leadership skills become.

Not everyone is born a leader and many experienced executives recognize the benefits of ongoing leadership skills training to stay on top of ever-changing developments. Learning new leadership skills can be beneficial at all levels — from someone tasked with leading a project team to a Chief Executive Officer challenged to drive innovation and motivate employees.

Learning leadership skills
While only a handful of people may have a natural ability to lead, anyone who is motivated can gain effective leadership skills through experience — which can be hit and miss — and more reliably through executive education. The trick is to find the leadership development program that's right for you and your organization.

Let's be blunt, competition for leadership programs is intense. Business schools, universities and institutes offer a bewildering array of courses, all promising to make you a better leader. Not all of them live up to the fanfare. Unless you are selective about the leadership courses on offer, you face going down a worthless blind alley.

Choosing the right program
To pick the best leadership development training program you should start with one of the top international business schools. How do you know who's on top? Check the executive education rankings.

Independent, highly regarded publications, such as the Financial Times and The Economist, rank the best business schools in the world on a regular, updated basis. A top-ranked business school has to be innovative to maintain a track record for excellence. And to stay at the forefront it must constantly update its programs so they remain relevant.

Here are a few other points to consider if you want to get the most out of leadership skills training:

  • Gain an assessment from people you work with and acquaintances on the kind of leadership skills that you need to acquire or improve.
  • Seek out a leadership assessment from one of the leading business schools that can benchmark your leadership competencies while highlighting your strengths and areas you should develop.
  • Align leadership skills training with your personal objectives and those of your organization. Ask yourself how the training will help meet these goals.
  • Look for hands-on training that allows you to try out new leadership skills in real-world conditions but also in front of peers in a supportive environment.
  • Take advantage of leadership coaching offered by the best schools that can offer powerful personal advice on how to become a more effective leader.
  • Develop a calendar that meshes with your personal and organizational aspirations to plan when you want to acquire different leadership skills. The best leadership development programs allow you to update your skills on a regular basis as your situation changes or if, for example, you have to prepare for a new project or challenge.
  • Look for ways with your corporate training department on how you can measure your leadership skills progress. That may feed back into the need for a regular leadership assessment process.

Quite apart from helping you perform better, leadership skills training can play an important role in identifying and nurturing talent in your organization. As never before, businesses have a critical need to develop and invest in leadership skills.


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