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Designed to fine-tune the skills that leaders need to succeed in the reality of today’s complex business world, top leadership development programs are a valuable asset. But finding a leadership development program that will truly boost your performance means taking the time to properly evaluate the different programs out there. This way you can be sure the one you choose is not only one of the top leadership development programs available, but also appropriate for your level and needs.
Here we outline a few key features you should assess when looking for top leadership development programs.
If it’s important to you to attend one of the very top leadership development programs, then seek out the best of the best business management schools. How can you identify such schools? A good way is by looking at business school rankings from publications such as the Financial Times and The Economist.
IMD business school, for example, consistently receives high rankings, reflecting its 100% focus on providing innovative and effective executive education.
Leaders at different levels have different leadership development needs. Young managers, for example, need to mobilize people to achieve business goals - and so benefit most from leadership courses that improve their understanding of group dynamics, human behavior and their own leadership style.
CEOs and other senior leaders shouldn’t need this but can benefit from an executive leadership development program designed to reinvigorate their leadership and achieve breakthrough performance. And leaders facing a particular business challenge will benefit most from a program that includes both business analyst training as well as leadership training to help them develop and then implement new business strategies.
Top leadership development programs, therefore, don’t aim to be everything to everyone - instead, different programs are specifically designed for a certain level or need. The best leadership programs clearly explain exactly which level they are appropriate for.
So you’ve found some interesting-looking programs from good business schools that are designed for your level. How do you choose the right one?
One thing to keep in mind is that the best leadership development programs specifically help you with your particular leadership and/or business challenge. You should be able to work directly on your own issues, receive leadership coaching, and have guidance for applying lessons from the program to your own situation. Exercises that help you translate your learning into concrete plans and actions are also useful.
Contrary to common belief, leadership does not occur in isolation. Top leadership development programs, therefore, offer opportunities for leadership teams in order to multiply the benefits. By attending the same program - either together or over time - leaders from different units, countries or regions can develop a common approach and language and build on this shared approach. Such leadership development programs can also be a launch pad for an organizational change or a strategic project.