LEADERSHIP / JUN. 23, 2014
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How to Join Leadership Development Programs

Leadership development has become an important buzz word in today’s workplace and business world. The following three leading companies are among many who provide in-house leadership development programs—Disney Institute, Franklin Covey and Skillsoft. (Source: trainingindustry.com) The idea of locating potential leaders inside a company has become more advantageous than seeking outside talent. Some companies provide in-house leadership development programs. Others opt for utilising leadership programs run by non-profit organisations or business schools. This article will address how to join a leadership development program.

Joining a Leadership Development Program at Your Job

  • Determine what you are looking for

The process begins with determining exactly what you are looking for in a leadership development program. Perhaps you’d like to advance your career and apply for a position in upper management. You will need to do your research and ascertain the exact program requirements. For example, there may be a requirement on having worked at the job for at least two years before enrolling in such a leadership program. Other programs may require that you have a certain degree or a specific type of work experience.

  • Ask for Support

During this process, it is a good idea to speak to your HR department or supervisor. If you want to enroll in a leadership program on the job, you will need the support from your manager. Receiving positive recommendations from a supervisor can increase your chances of getting accepted into the program. If the leadership program is being hosted by the management at your job, most likely there will not be any costs involved to the employees. Although, it is possible that you may have to pay for training materials in order to participate in the program. However, if your employer is seeking an outside consultant or organisation to host the program, there is a higher probability that you will need to pay for the course.

  • Match the Leadership programme with your career goals

If your company provides a variety of leadership programs, check into one that fits your specific career goals. This is a good time to begin to list your career goals and create a professional growth plan. When you find the right company program that lines up with your growth plan, complete the necessary application paperwork and submit it in a timely fashion within the deadline. As you create your professional growth plan, ascertain whether or not you are planning to leave your current employment in the near future. If you are, it might be better to decide to enroll in a leadership development program outside your job. If you know of any colleagues who have completed the leadership program you want to enroll in, discuss it with them. Find out what they gained from taking this course.  

Joining a Leadership Development Program Outside Your Job

If you decide to enroll in an outside leadership development program, one place to investigate first is the Center for Creative Leadership. The Financial Times named them as one of the Top Five Worldwide Executive Education resources in 2014. They are a global provider offering programs worldwide. The center provides guidance in the following: leadership resources, individual development, team performance, organisation transformation and societal advancement. They have various tools, coaching sessions and digital learning available in conjunction with the in-person seminars.   

Another option is to attend a leadership development program at a university or business school. Degree Directory provides a listing of universities that offer leadership development degrees and programs or courses. Seek out a program that aligns closely with your industry and the goals outlined in your professional growth plan. For example, a marketing, financial analyst or business person would fit well in with a development program offered by a business school. If your field of study is nonprofit, then you would look to a program taught by nonprofit experts. Always seek guidance from your supervisor if participation in such a program is going to require time off. Work with your supervisor, not against the system at the office.  

A third option is to consider enrolling in an online leadership development program. Leadership Tools offers a free ten step online course for leadership development. Leadership IQ is a leading resource in online leadership training. It was founded in 2001 by motivational speaker, Mark Murphy. They offer training via webinars, online leadership training and keynote speeches. Their main office is in Georgia and they have branch offices in Chicago, NYC and DC. Their client partners come from various Fortune 500 companies, small businesses, non-profits and government agencies.

Joining a leadership development plan can be a simple process if you follow a specific plan and do your research. The two major options are to attend a program at your place of employment or to enroll in an external one. Writing a professional growth plan is an important step to keep you aligned with your career goals. If enrolling in an external program, there are three options such as attending seminars, enrolling in a University program or learning with an online program. Any type of leadership development program you attend will further benefit your professional career and add educational experience to your resume.


Photo Credit: http://www.compassroseconsulting.com

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