Christine Mclean December 14, 2023

Leadership Training for Staff: A Guide for Creating Strong Company Leaders

Employee Training

Leadership training is for all staff, not just C-Suite execs and senior managers.


It seems sort of strange that leadership training isn’t only for those who are, well, leaders. They’re the people with the titles. They shoulder the responsibility of ensuring teams meet targets.

But the truth is that every staff member is a leader. From the janitor who mops the floors to the people who man the front desk — everyone has the ability to inspire, motivate, and influence those around them.

Leadership isn’t about giving orders and wielding power. The best leaders are those who inspire those around them to achieve desired goals.

Your staff members have influence, which makes it important for you to spread your leadership training across your organisation.

Global leadership consultant, Daniel Denningberg, explained in a podcast interview that everyone in an organisation should have access to leadership training. He said, “Every organisation should understand what they mean by leadership and ensure that everyone in the business has equal and fair access to training. This helps all staff learn the core values of leadership at an early stage.”

As Dan shares in the clip below, leadership training positively impacts employee engagement!

This article includes several nuggets of wisdom Dan shared during this conversation. It also includes additional tips that will help you create a holistic and equitable leadership training program for staff.

You can listen to the interview by clicking the link below.

Let’s start by looking at one of the most important applications of leadership training — succession planning.

Leadership Training and Succession Planning 

Succession planning helps you prepare current employees for future roles. A successful succession planning process reduces your time-to-hire and increases employee productivity.

You can’t avoid it; employees will leave your company. An effective succession planning process that includes leadership training helps you better handle the inevitable. Dan shared five key steps for a successful succession planning process.

Here’s a clip where he explains the first step.

  • Identify critical roles: Certain roles are hard to fill. Managerial roles. C-Suite roles. Roles that require hard-to-find skills. These are the roles at the highest risk within your organisation. You can expand to other roles over time, but these critical roles should be where you start.

  • Evaluate your existing employees: Look at all your existing employees. For the employees who aren’t currently in those critical roles, which of them have the qualities to make great successors?

  • Do a skills gap analysis: Look at the existing skills these successors possess. What skills will they need to do the job well? What are the gaps? How far away are they from getting those skills? A few months? A year? Two years?

  • Create a training plan: Put together a training program that will help the successor develop the necessary skills over the period identified. Use a variety of training methods such as online courses, certification programs, seminars, etc. 

  • Include mentorship and coaching: This component is often missed. Your employees need internal and external mentors or coaches who will help them truly understand what’s required to succeed in the new role. Mentors and coaches help employees develop the required soft skills.

The fifth step highlights an important training component that’s often missed in leadership training programs — mentorship and coaching. Let’s look more closely at how you can successfully integrate mentorship and coaching into your leadership training program.

Mentorship and Coaching in Leadership Training 

Dan explains in the clip below that leadership coaching isn’t only about the technical skills required for the role. Good leadership coaching also helps your team develop the soft skills required for the role.

But what’s the difference between mentorship and coaching? Mentorship is about relationships, while coaching is about performance. Mentors share their experiences with mentees in ways that help their mentees develop holistically. Coaches tap into the experiences of the people they coach to help them improve their performance. Coaching is very action-driven, while mentorship is more relationship-driven.

Lakeisha Palmer, Head of Talent Development at the Digicel Group, explained the relationship-driven nature of mentorship in a recent podcast interview. Here’s a sneak peek of what she shared.

Mentorship is critical for career path planning, and helping employees identify their career paths is important for both succession planning and leadership training. Lakeisha shared a few tips during our conversation about career path planning that will help you create a meaningful mentorship program for your staff.

  • Choose how to implement a mentorship program based on your organisation’s needs. Some organisations may choose to do group mentorship while others may choose to do one-on-one mentorship.

  • Identify dedicated mentors. You need mentors who are committed and have meaningful stories and experiences to share with their mentees. Dan also explained that mentors should have the right mindsets and amicable personalities.

  • Provide training for mentors. Mentors should be clear about what’s expected from them and their mentees. It may be helpful to create a guidebook that both mentors and mentees can access at the most convenient times for them.

Important Note: Mentorship isn’t about giving mentees all the answers. It’s about challenging mentees to step outside of their comfort zones. The same applies to leadership coaching.

Leadership Training and Emotional Intelligence 

Emotional intelligence is an important part of the soft skills required for effective leadership. Let’s look more closely at how emotional intelligence content can be included in leadership training.

The emotional intelligence of your leaders impacts your organisation’s growth. As experienced emotional intelligence trainer Krystal Tomlinson shared in a podcast interview, “When the environment is emotionally unhealthy where people with low EQ and high IQ are leading teams, the attrition rate on those teams is high and the sense of job satisfaction is low. This impacts the bottom line.” She further explains in the clip below.

C-Suite execs, senior managers, and team leaders have to buy into emotional intelligence training for it to work. As Krystal said, “It has to start with the senior managers and team leaders accepting emotional intelligence training. You can’t start at the bottom teaching your frontline staff and when they come to work, the person who’s managing them isn’t demonstrating any of the emotional intelligence skills they’re being asked to demonstrate.”

Emotional intelligence training for leaders should equip them with the right tools to identify and manage their emotions. It should also help them become more aware about how their actions impact the behaviour of others. Finally, emotional intelligence training should help leaders better understand how they can use their emotions and the emotions of others to strengthen relationships.

So how can you create a training program that helps leaders achieve these outcomes?

There are a lot of factors to consider such as your workplace culture, the emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) of each team member, and team dynamics. The best solution is to hire an emotional intelligence training expert to help you create and execute a training program that’s unique to your organisation’s needs.

That aside, emotional intelligence tools are a good place to start. Krystal explained that emotional intelligence tools are deeply personal. It’s important for your leaders to understand how to identify what they’re feeling and why they’re feeling it. But they also need the right tools at work to help them manage those emotions.

Krystal further explains in the clip below.

Two of the most common emotional intelligence tools are meditation and deep breathing. Encourage your leaders to take deep breaths and interrogate their thoughts before they respond to their team members. This approach can help minimise emotionally-charged responses and create a healthier work environment.

There are many other emotional intelligence tools and exercises that will help your leaders become more self-aware and socially aware. These tools will be identified by your emotional intelligence trainer and included in your training program.

When Should Leadership Training Start for Lower-Level Employees?  

Leadership training should start for lower-level employees as soon as they join the company. This training should be based on the leadership values of your organisation.

Here are some tips to help you give your entire workforce the leadership training they need.

  • Host workshops and live training sessions that help all staff understand how to model each leadership value in their daily work. One on One’s LMS can help you plan and manage these workshops and training sessions, even if they’re in-person.

  • Create a mentorship program that allows newer employees to learn from more experienced employees. Mentors should teach their mentees how to model your organisation’s leadership values.

  • Include leadership values in 360-degree feedback. This feedback will help employees understand how well they’re modelling the behaviour and where they need to improve.

  • Create an aspiring managers program. Existing managers can recommend team members they believe will make good future leaders. Employees can also recommend themselves if they believe they have leadership potential.

How to Proactively Plan Leadership Training  

Know the problem you’re solving. “Be clear about the challenge you’re solving,” says Dan, “You’d be amazed by the number of HR people who put together a training program and can’t clearly articulate the problem they’re solving.”

All members of the senior management team must be on the same page about the problem that needs to be solved and how to solve it. They should all give the same answers to two critical questions. Where do we want to be? What’s the profile of the leader we need?

It’s also important to actively measure leadership training. Don’t send people on a training program and leave them to it. Track key metrics such as employee retention, the number of people who’ve been promoted before and after the program, improvements in employee appraisal scores, and the quality of employee feedback (is it more positive than before?).

Know the problem. Get everyone on your senior team on the same page about the solution. Execute training. Measure the impact.

Leadership Training in Jamaica with One on One

Leadership training is for people at all levels within your organisation. Lower-level employees will benefit from training that helps them develop your organisation’s core leadership values. Aspiring leaders also need that type of training, but they’ll also need training that helps them develop leadership skills.

Senior managers and exec members need training that helps them understand and hone their leadership skills to empower, motivate, and inspire their teams. Their training focuses a lot on business growth and change management.

One on One is here to help you provide leadership training to your staff regardless of their level within your organisation. Our content development team will help you create courses and learning material that meet your organisation’s unique leadership challenges. You can also use our learning management system to plan, deliver, and measure your leadership training program.

Book a demo to learn more about our online learning solutions