Leadership Workshops: The Last Guide That You Will Ever Need

Mike O'Neill photo
Written by Mike O'Neill on Mar 4, 2020

83% of businesses say it’s important to develop leaders at all levels — and they are looking for solutions. Companies are investing in leadership workshops, but they aren’t getting the results they expected. Or even worse, they aren’t measuring and tracking the results at all.

CEOs are struggling to find workshops that fit their needs. They buy-in on pre-built workshops and hire consultants to implement off-the-shelf tactics, and continually find themselves underwhelmed with the end results.

Your employees are unique individuals with unique skills and personalities that need to be considered. Your company has unique goals, business needs, and customers that it likes to work with.

So it’s no surprise that you can’t get the results you want with “one-size-fits-all” training. 

Instead, you should look at programs that are customized to your needs. Customized training programs allow you to provide the specific skills and knowledge that your employees need on a case-by-case basis.

Let us show you how you can customize a training program for your team.

Don’t have time to give this article your full attention? Click here to get the highlights.

leadership workshops - who needs training

Step One: Identify the Group That Needs Training

The first thing you need to do is identify the group of employees who need training. Are you looking to train employees who are already in leadership positions? Or are you hosting workshops for entry-level employees that you want to promote?

The best candidates for leadership workshops are self-motivated and excellent communicators. They don't give up, and they strive to produce the best quality of work possible.

Continued education is important to them — they are motivated to learn and grow. Don't send employees who lack the necessary personality traits or skills through leadership workshops and expect great results.

Not everyone is cut out to be a leader, and you should take the time to properly screen employees beforehand using skills and personality assessments.

leadership workshops - skills assessments

Step Two: Have Employees Take a Pre-Training Skills Assessment

Pre-training skills assessments allow you to identify the areas of strengths and weaknesses for each of your employees. 

Assessments help you see what their pain points are, what areas they can improve on, and if they would make a good fit for a leadership position.

Look for individuals that demonstrate some basic traits of a good leader, as mentioned above, and have them take your assessments to confirm they are a good fit before sending them through training.

Another benefit of having them take assessments is that you can make sure they are a good fit for their current job. For instance, you might find an employee that is in a position the assessment shows that they aren’t a good fit for, and they’ve been struggling with their work or feel unfulfilled in their job.

You can reevaluate their position with the company and potentially move them to another department with a new job role they would be much better suited for. 

leadership workshops - what topics

Step Three: Decide On What Topics to Teach

What topics you decide to teach in your leadership workshop depends on what areas your employees need to gain the most improvements in. 

You’ll know what those are based on the results of the assessments you conducted. Some examples of topics you could include are:

  • Constructive communication skills.
  • How to improve employee performance with coaching.
  • How to increase the engagement of your employees.
  • Setting realistic goals and holding employees accountable.
  • Conflict resolution techniques.
  • How to manage their time and plan strategically.
  • Ways to improve productivity by motivating employees.
  • The importance of honest feedback and communicating expectations clearly.
  • How to be self-aware and have empathy for their employees.
  • Team building tactics.

leadership workshops - hire qualified trainers

Step Four: Hire a Qualified Trainer With Real-World Experience

You should choose a qualified trainer that has real-world experience — this is essential to the success of your leadership training workshops. 

Here are a few things you can do to ensure you pick the right trainer to lead your workshop:

  • Talk to other companies that you know who have hired a trainer. Can they recommend someone they’ve had success with?
  • Shop around and interview several leadership coaches before you choose one.
  • Prepare a series of questions that you need to ask to make sure you get the training your employees need. The most important question of all is, “Do you provide customized leadership workshops?”

At Bench Builders, we’ve seen first-hand how beneficial it is to have trainers with hands-on experience in the field. Our expert consultants, Mike O’Neill and Rhonda Beard have decades of real-world experience.

Mike held senior HR roles with Shaw and Mohawk Industries, and he has a B.S. in Psychology, as well as several certifications. Rhonda has experience leading HR teams for family-owned businesses and Fortune 500 companies. She has a B.A. in Business and is a SHRM Senior Certified Professional.

Contact us to find out how we can help you customize a leadership workshop to suit your needs.

leadership workshops - training should be varied

Step Five: Ensure Training Materials Are Varied and Interactive

Remember the days when you were in school, and you fought to stay awake against the monotone and droning voice of a boring teacher? What about the stacks of outlines and worksheets you had to read and fill out that seemed to never end? 

These methods of learning didn’t help you in school, so don’t rely on these same methods to train your employees.

Your training materials need to be created with the different learning styles in mind, and they should be interactive. Include materials such as guided scenarios. 

The best training materials stimulate all the senses at once and force their focus.

Materials that require them to see, hear, and interact with something will stick in their memory much longer and be easier to understand.

leadership workshops - conducive surroundings

Step Six: Choose Facilities That Are Quiet and Conducive to Learning

Where you host your leadership workshop has an impact on its success. You don’t want to try to teach your employees in an area that’s loud, with a lot going on around them.

Distractions make it impossible for your employees to remain focused and can cause them to miss crucial information you need them to learn.

This is especially important for your leaders. They can be easily distracted by phone calls, text messages, emails, and interruptions that naturally occur in their day. It’s up to you to make sure they get the time away from daily work to absorb the training.

Host your workshop somewhere quiet that’s away from the everyday hustle and bustle of your workplace. For example, choose meeting rooms that don’t have glass or windows to see out into the office.

leadership workshops - post-training assessments

Step Seven: Conduct Post-Training Assessments and Surveys

Have you invested in leadership workshops in the past? Were you disappointed by the results? 

Conducting post-training assessments and surveys is a vital part of every leadership workshop. You need to know that your employees gained the knowledge and skills you paid for them to get.

Use the same assessments you used to test them before the training. Compare the results from before and after to see if they’ve made improvements.

If you notice any employees who did worse or didn’t make much improvement, sit down with them one-on-one and find out why. Ask them for their thoughts and opinions on the training.

Did they find any of it helpful? Why or why not? Is there anything they feel they need clarification on?

continue training

Step Eight: Don’t Stop Teaching

Don’t be one of those companies that pays for training and expects it to be a “one-and-done” experience. 

Leadership workshops are only beneficial if you follow up with what they learned and take steps to help them practice it on the job.

We often see employees returning to their jobs and unable to practice what they were taught. This can be because the processes currently in place don’t allow for it, or they aren’t encouraged to keep learning.

In order for leadership workshops to produce the results you want, you need to schedule follow up workshops routinely, provide exercises for employees to use what they learned, coach and encourage them, and track the progress to see what’s working and what’s not.

Quick Summary

Quick Summary: Create a Customized Leadership Workshop in 8 Steps

Do you want to create a leadership workshop that is effective and produces real, measurable results? We can help!

  1. Identify the group that needs training. Are you looking for a workshop to teach employees already in leadership positions or employees you wish to promote?
  2. Start with  a pre-training skills assessment. Don’t send everyone through training and hope it works. Require employees to take a pre-training skills assessment to find out if they meet the minimum requirements to be an effective leader.
  3. Decide on what topics to teach. Don’t use “spray and pray” tactics that try to teach everything to everyone. Narrow your focus and choose topics based on the unique needs and skill set of your employees.
  4. Hire a qualified trainer with real-world experience. You need someone who has been in the trenches and has real-life experience. Contact us to find out how we can help you develop a customized leadership workshop led by one of our experienced trainers.
  5. Ensure training materials are varied and interactive. Make training fun and immersive by integrating interactive quizzes or guided training scenarios.
  6. Choose facilities that are quiet and conducive to learning. The best learning environments are quiet, with little to no distractions that keep employees from learning.
  7. Conduct post-training assessments and surveys. Find out how effective your leadership workshop was by having your employees repeat the pre-training assessments and comparing the results.
  8. Don’t stop teaching. Your leadership workshops will only be beneficial if you make sure that you follow up on what they learned. Take steps to ensure that they can practice what they learned on the job.

Next Step

Get Your Free Field Guide to Managing Humans

Are you ready to develop leadership training that produces the results you want? Our experts have created a free guide to help you learn just what being an effective and efficient leader means.

You’ll learn how to overcome team dysfunctions, maximize workforce productivity, implement continuous improvement cycles, and much more.

Download your free copy of our guide and start getting the results you want today! 

Grab your free copy here: A Tactical FIeld Guide to Managing Humans.

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