Practice plays a critical role in leadership development, but formal training is equally essential for acquiring this skill. Indeed, corporations should prioritize leadership development because “skilled leaders are necessary for the effective design and implementation of business strategy, … regulation of team processes and outcomes, and overall organizational performance” (Subramony et al., 2018, p. 120). Many firms invest in formal training to improve leadership development. For example, U.S. companies spent almost $14 billion on the programs for leadership development in 2012 and more than $30 billion in 2015 (Roupnel et al., 2019; Subramony et al., 2018). Formal training can be defined as an organized learning process in a classroom setting that allows gaining theoretical knowledge which can be applied to practice (Sparr et al., 2017). Furthermore, leadership programs were found to help trainees improve self-control and job performance (Subramony et al., 2018). Although formal training is an essential initial step to creating a solid management team with solid leadership skills, theoretical knowledge is insufficient because it does not allow collective thinking development.
Companies invest in formal education programs to train influential leaders. Many of these leadership development programs aim to develop collaborative thinking, learning, power-sharing, and adaptability to rapid changes because the dynamic nature of the business world demands these characteristics to attain success (Roupnel et al., 2019). Leadership can be defined as a growing asset that allows to transform a group thinking and motivate people for action, which means that a modern leader plays the role of a coach and coordinator (Roupnel et al., 2019). Therefore, the primary goal of any formal training program should be preparing a cohort that will take responsibility for leading a company. Indeed, various mental exercises and activities are used during training to ensure proper absorption of the learning material and develop personal leadership skills (Roupnel et al., 2019; Subramony et al., 2018). Furthermore, formal training programs convey the idea that leadership is impossible without interpersonal relationships, teaching students the basics of effective communication and emotional intelligence. Overall, leadership training strives to teach leadership skills to improve employee interaction and collaboration within the company.
Formal training programs strive to develop aspiring leaders with the capacity to motivate their team, but many of those require correction to connect theoretical knowledge to practice. The most apparent advantage of formal education is that it trains competent leaders who think critically, make strategic decisions, and motivate others (Roupnel et al., 2019). However, the disadvantage is that many programs do not teach how to transform “individual-based identity to a collective-based identity” (Roupnel et al., 2019, p. 131). Although individual thinking is a valuable asset for a leader, one should be able to switch between these two identities to be aligned with their crew.
To sum up, leadership development formal training program is a helpful tool for firms to prepare the next generation of leaders that will continue to guide the company employees to excellence. Therefore, U.S. companies spend billions of dollars on providing appropriate education to their employees because some of them may acquire leading positions in the future. Programs allow trainees to develop personal leadership skills and communication techniques. Furthermore, training enables the cultivation of such qualities as strategic decision-making and motivation. Still, leadership development should also focus on forming collective thinking because the essence of effective management is good interpersonal relationships within an organization.
Roupnel, S., Rinfre, N., & Grenier, J. (2019). Leadership development: Three programs that maximize learning over time. Journal of Leadership Education, 18(2), 126-143.
Sparr, J. L., Knipfer, K., & Willems, F. (2017). How leaders can get the most out of formal training: The significance of feedback‐seeking and reflection as informal learning behaviors. Human Resource Development Quarterly, 28(1), 29-54. Web.
Subramony, M., Segers, J., Chadwick, C., & Shyamsunder, A. (2018). Leadership development practice bundles and organizational performance: The mediating role of human capital and social capital. Journal of Business Research, 83, 120-129. Web.