Unlocking leadership excellence: choosing the right training program

As a leader, your actions significantly impact the people around you and the organization's success. Meeting the expectations of a leadership role is a challenging task. While your experience and skills enable you to guide employees to success, there is always room for further growth.

Thankfully, you don’t have to navigate leadership alone. No matter where you are in your leadership journey, investing in management and leadership training can enhance your performance and equip you with new skills to effectively lead your team.

Practical benefits of leadership training

Organizations with capable leaders can quickly adapt to evolving trends, economic instability, and the adoption of new technology to reach higher levels of success.

Three valuable benefits of developing your skills with leadership training include:

  1. HR cost-savings: investments in leadership training create a ripple effect. Businesses that invest in coaching programs see average returns of $7 for every $1 spent. These returns come from increased revenue and sales and cost savings through higher employee retention and lower recruitment costs.
  2. Addressing burnout: leadership training is a great way to address leader burnout. Heavy workloads, minimal resources, and constantly increasing demands lead to burnout in more than 50% of managers. Learning to work more efficiently can have a positive effect on these situations.
  3. Skill enhancement and role reinvigoration: leadership development can help you learn new skills, invigorate your interest in your role, and handle growing responsibilities.

Choose the best learning formats for your needs

Leadership development programs are available in various formats to accommodate learning preferences, schedules, and organizational requirements.

Some standard formats include:

  • Classroom-based training: traditional instructor-led sessions held in a physical classroom setting
  • E-learning: self-paced online courses 
  • Video-based learning: educational content delivered through video format
  • Webinars: online seminars conducted in real-time or recorded for later viewing
  • Podcasts: audio covering various topics, including leadership development
  • Workshops: interactive sessions focusing on practical skills and application
  • Seminars: formal presentations on specific issues, often involving group discussions
  • Conferences: events gathering professionals for networking and learning opportunities
  • Executive coaching: one-on-one coaching sessions tailored to individual leadership needs.
  • Mentoring programs: pairing less experienced individuals with seasoned mentors for guidance
  • Simulation-based training: immersive experiences replicating real-world scenarios
  • Action learning projects: learning by doing hands-on projects addressing real challenges
  • 360-degree assessments: feedback mechanisms involving input from peers, superiors, and subordinates
  • Blended learning: combining online and in-person elements for a comprehensive learning experience
  • Mobile learning: accessing educational content through mobile devices
  • Microlearning: bite-sized learning modules focusing on specific topics or skills
  • Gamification: incorporating game-like elements to enhance engagement and motivation
  • Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) training: immersive technologies offering realistic training environments
  • Social learning: collaborative learning facilitated through social media platforms and online communities
  • On-the-job training and stretch assignments: learning through hands-on experience and challenging projects

As you look for programs that meet your needs, consider the format that best suits your learning style—such as visual learning with video lectures and infographics, auditory learning through podcasts and discussions, kinesthetic learning via hands-on workshops and simulations, or reading/writing learning through detailed manuals and case studies.

Not sure? Try a few different options.

Choose a leadership course that aligns with your educational goals

Consider these popular leadership programs to determine which training best meets your needs. 

Here are a few options:

Lead with Influence

This live online course from Dale Carnegie helps leaders learn how to gain cooperation and drive results without authority—situations where no one person is the apparent "boss." It's for mid-level leaders with strong functional and technical expertise who need to build cooperation and influence others.

Lead with Influence teaches a proven process for engaging others in meaningful conversations about change and new ideas by:

  • establishing your position as a trusted partner
  • asking better questions to improve engagement
  • proposing ideas in an engaging way
  • handling pushback and managing anxiety to get commitment

Blanchard Management Essentials® 

This training program helps new managers build positive relationships, inspire engagement, and drive productivity. It's a transformative experience that equips participants with the tools and strategies to succeed and lead their teams.

Management Essentials introduces the Four Core Conversations communication framework:

  1. Goal setting
  2. Praising
  3. Redirecting
  4. Wrapping up

This training builds on the concepts in The New One Minute Manager®, co-authored by Ken Blanchard, PhD, and Spencer Johnson, MD.

Blanchard Management Essentials® can be ideal for training new managers or as a refresher for experienced ones. Training is available in person, virtually, or as part of a learning journey.

The 7 Habits for Managers® 

Based on the principles outlined in Stephen Covey's bestselling book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Franklin Covey's leadership course for first-time managers is explicitly tailored to the needs of new managers.

The 7 Habits for Managers® course focuses on helping participants develop a proactive, principle-centered approach to leadership. The course covers the following key areas:

  1. Developing personal effectiveness and self-management skills
  2. Building trust and fostering positive relationships with team members
  3. Developing a team mission, vision, and goals
  4. Conducting effective one-on-one meetings and performance reviews
  5. Coaching team members to help them reach their full potential
  6. Aligning team goals with organizational objectives
  7. Continuously improving team processes and performance

The course is interactive and engaging, with a mix of presentations, discussions, and practical exercises. 

Participants learn how to apply the 7 Habits framework to real-world management challenges and develop an action plan for implementing the principles in their leadership practice.

4P model for strategic leadership podcasts

This free podcast series from Harvard University teaches the 4P Framework and the four most important domains of outstanding leadership. 

The series includes four episodes:

  • Podcast 1 - Perception: exploring how we understand information and how our experiences and perceptions differ vastly from those of others.
  • Podcast 2 - Process: examining how we engage with teams, common pitfalls, and how to improve group processes.
  • Podcast 3 - People: insight into our human and emotional impacts on people and how to regulate emotions
  • Podcast 4 - Projection: an examination of how leaders project their vision of themselves, their organization, and their vision of the future to others.  

LinkedIn Learning (business writing)

LinkedIn Learning offers online courses to help professionals improve their writing and communication skills. 

Some notable courses for leaders looking to enhance their written communication include Business Writing Principles and Writing Emails People Want to Read.  

These self-paced courses provide practical tips and techniques for crafting clear, concise, and compelling messages in a business context. Learners can access the courses anytime, anywhere, and benefit from the expertise of experienced instructors. 

Leadership & Team Development for Managerial Success

This course from the American Management Association (AMA) is for new managers, team leads, and business professionals interested in acquiring functional leadership skills. 

Leadership & Team Development for Managerial Success provides leadership skills for managers to inspire and influence employees to achieve team goals.

Learning points include examining the leader's role as a motivator and coach, distinguishing the four team types, the principles that make teams work, and more. The course can be in-person or online and takes two days to complete. 

Center for Creative Leadership skill-building

The Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) is widely recognized as one of the top providers of leadership development programs and has a strong industry reputation. 

CCL offers a comprehensive suite of courses, workshops, and resources to help leaders at all levels develop the skills and competencies needed to succeed in today's complex business environment. 

Some of CCL's notable leadership programs include:

  • Leadership Development Program (LDP)®: a flagship program that provides a comprehensive leadership development experience for mid-level managers.
  • Maximizing Your Leadership Potential: for emerging leaders, this program focuses on developing self-awareness communication skills and leading others proficiently.
  • Leading for Organizational Impact: for senior leaders, this program helps participants develop the skills to lead strategically and drive organizational change.
  • Lead 4 Success (L4S)®: takes leaders from average to high-performing by focusing on the four fundamental leadership skills: self-awareness, learning agility, influence, and communication.

CCL's programs are known for their experiential learning approach, which includes simulations, assessments, and personalized feedback. The organization's research-based content and highly experienced faculty have earned it a strong reputation worldwide among corporate, government, and nonprofit clients.

The Pip Decks Leadership Bundle

Pip Decks are business recipe cards invented by Charles Burdett. They show you precise tactics for solving specific problems, explain why you need the knowledge, and provide step-by-step instructions for taking action.

The Leadership Bundle is a valuable combo of Workshop Tactics and Team Tactics that help you confidently facilitate workshops and build motivated teams. 

The best leaders never stop learning. Browse our leadership blog to learn more about the nuances of leadership and ways you can improve your skills. 


What is the difference between manager and leader training?

Leadership and manager training have many overlapping features, including communication, establishing business goals, and change management. 

Yet, there are subtle differences in training. Management training often focuses on operational and administrative duties, while leadership training highlights subjects like emotional intelligence and interpersonal strengths.

What is the best training for leadership?

There is no one best leadership training program for all leaders. The right leadership program for you depends on multiple factors, including your strengths, experience, and learning goals: 

These tips can help you determine what to look for in a leadership program.

  • Start with an assessment of your skills. 360 assessments provide feedback from direct reports, peers, and supervisors (usually anonymously). Other assessments are more reflective and ask you to rate your skills based on what you believe to be true.
  • Consider programs that take a strength-based approach, helping participants identify and leverage their unique talents and abilities to become more proficient and authentic leaders.
  • Seek programs that offer a wide range of skills, particularly when you're new to leadership.
  • Determine your preferred style of leadership and search for programs that cater to that leadership style. 

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