According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, the need for leadership development training has never been more pressing. But why is leadership development important in post-pandemic America? It’s crucial for navigating the fast-evolving business landscape. Proper training helps companies foster resilience and inspire teams to adapt to remote and hybrid work models. Moreover, training initiatives attract career seekers and retain top talent. [1] [2]

Not all corporate educational programs are equal or even produce the desired results. Some concentrate on specific leadership abilities, while others provide a more comprehensive view of leadership. Identifying the correct leadership development strategies will benefit your top employees and the company’s success.

This article explores the value of leadership skills training across organizations, regardless of size or level. It offers valuable insights into when and what factors require careful consideration when implementing these programs. That means making sure they are in line with the goals and growth aspirations of your organization.

Top Reasons for Leadership Development Training

Most ambitious employees see leadership skills development as crucial to being recognized and rewarded for their efforts. According to Zippia’s research, 79% of workers are prepared to walk due to a lack of appreciation. And although 83% of organizations believe in leadership growth—at all levels—only 5% fully implement it. [3]

Effective leadership development training serves to deliver seven critical benefits:

  1. Fosters growth: Cultivate a pool of capable leaders
  2. Retains talent: Attract and retain the best people
  3. Boosts performance: Advance organizational effectiveness
  4. Enhances engagement: Further employee morale and commitment
  5. Embraces change: Increase success through effective change leadership training
  6. Nurtures innovation: Encourage fresh ideas and new perspectives
  7. Drives success: Secure a competitive edge within the market

Despite the potential returns that corporate leadership training offers, many organizations have become reluctant to invest. Why is that?

Too Many Leadership Coaching and Training Failures

Leaders Attending Inappropriate Leadership Training CourseIt’s true; many US corporations spend billions of dollars on leadership courses that don’t pay off. So it is little wonder HR departments are reluctant to invest further. But there is a common thread in this poor return on investment (ROI). It’s usually the result of programs that fail to meet the precise needs of companies or employees. The solution, therefore, is to customize leadership training to align your business model and its leadership.

Tailored leadership training initiatives should check these five boxes:

  •  Select the right participants for the program
  •  Foster engagement among course participants
  •  Use a variety of suitable learning methods
  •  Provide post-course opportunities for practice and worker feedback
  •  Evaluate the program’s effectiveness over time

Companies often overlook point five, and it’s a huge mistake. Your training programs should not end when participants leave the classroom. Instead, follow up to see how they apply the new knowledge and learned skills. Follow-up also shapes future training by helping you keep aspects that work, so you can build on—or remove—what doesn’t. The best way to track your training initiatives is to use some form of evaluation survey. [4]

Leadership and Management Training—at All Levels

Present-day leadership challenges center around developing global, broad, and deep leadership and management pipelines that reach every level of an organization. This approach needs a substantial investment of time and resources and firm commitments from the upper echelons of corporations. Are you doing enough, and if not, how willing are you to explore new ways of developing your leadership at every level?

Here’s what that might look like.

Leadership Development Training for First-Time Managers

Leadership training for first-time managers should offer a comprehensive toolkit for success. The aim is to prepare emerging leaders to seamlessly settle into their new roles, helping them become effective, confident, and impactful from the outset.

First-time manager training typically helps develop the following skills:

  • Effective communication
  • Confident decision-making
  • Problem-solving
  • Time management
  • Team building
  • Conflict resolution

There may also be an emphasis on emotional intelligence, mentoring, and continuous learning through real-world scenarios and regular feedback. However, there is a criticism that US companies take too long to invest in effective leadership training for managers.

This chart shows that the average age most managers first get formal training is 42. [5]

Leadership Training Statistics Chart

Data Source:

Delayed and late-career coaching and training makes no sense as it can lead to lost productivity and missed opportunities. Statistics show that managers who receive corporate mentorship and training are 88% more productive than those who receive none.

Leadership Development Training for Executives

So far, we have discussed the importance of choosing the right leadership training for the right people to maximize the ROI of your training budget.

Post-pandemic executive leadership training prioritizes developing trust, resilience, and emotional intelligence. The best programs are designed for accessibility and practicality, offering tailored leadership workshops to address relevant competencies. Flexible formats work best when there’s a need to accommodate busy schedules.


EWF Professional Workshops for Busy Executives

EWF’s tailored workshops help high-level executives adapt to the world’s evolving leadership landscape. Our training programs aim to hone your strengths, foster team cohesion and trust, and boost your emotional resilience. We offer diverse topics tailored to specific needs and busy schedules, including half-day, full-day, and multi-day sessions.

Learn More About EWF’s Exclusive Workshops for Busy Executives!


Leadership Development Training for Directors and VPs

To achieve a holistic leadership development program, it is also essential to prioritize the transition of Directors (D-level) or Vice Presidents (V-level) to the C-Suite. Leaders at D and V levels—especially women—face a critical juncture in leadership pipelines. Specialized training is the best way to equip them with the necessary skills and confidence to advance.

Training for directors and VPs typically focuses on six interrelated skills:

  1. Strategic thinking
  2. Decision-making in complex environments
  3. Executive presence and communication
  4. Leading organizational change
  5. Crisis management
  6. Board readiness

Investing in your leadership development at the Director and VP level is not only about personal growth. It is also about fostering diversity and inclusion, which is vital for robust leadership pipelines in 2023 and beyond.

Outsource or In-House Training? 

There are three options for delivering leadership education. The first is to train in-house using internal staff. They have an immediate advantage in understanding your culture, goals, and challenges. In-house programs are more affordable and customizable than external ones.

Second are the outside agency-led custom leadership programs. External agencies offer expertise and objectivity and leverage resource efficiency to produce high-quality training. The third option is the hybrid approach, combining the strengths of in-house and outsourcing, including virtual leadership training. We will look at the hybrid system in more detail soon.

Ultimately, the decision is yours. Do a thorough assessment of your company’s training capabilities and resources and the complexity of the program’s requirements.


EWF: Investing in Your Leaders Through Every Stage

EWF leadership training is not solely focused on business success, though that is a critical component. Our training programs aim to shape your transformational leaders for a better future. Investing in the growth of your top people positively impacts communities, families, and organizations, helping to build impactful, inclusive, and diverse leadership pipelines for the future.

Read More About EWF’s Transformational Leadership Development Programs


5 Most Sought-After Leadership Programs

This table highlights the five most popular training options.

Program Type


Target Audience


Tailored training initiatives are customized to your organization’s specific needs. These programs address particular challenges and opportunities agreed upon by senior management and training facilitators. The idea is to foster leadership training that aligns with your company’s vision and goals.

Senior leaders, managers, and rising talent

Women’s Leadership

Skill-building initiatives designed to empower female leaders in the workplace. This type of training typically involves mentorship and networking opportunities and helps bridge gender gaps in leadership roles and promotes diversity.

Women in leadership roles

Peer Advisory Groups

Supportive and confidential forums for executives. Peer advisory groups offer structured sessions to promote accountability and productive issue-sharing. They also help address unique challenges, focusing on strategic decision-making and relationship-building while prioritizing ethical conduct and confidentiality.


Career Advancement 

Focuses on individual growth, equipping leaders with the essential tools and knowledge to advance careers. Leadership advancement programs foster both personal development and organizational success.

Leaders wanting to advance their careers

Inclusive Leadership

Diversity leadership training focusing on equity and belonging. These programs cultivate leaders who can lead diverse teams, drive innovation, and create inclusive cultures that benefit workers and the wider organization.

All leaders

See EWF’s Leadership Development Workshop Session Catalog for Details

Training to Build Leadership Competencies

Training to build leadership competencies encompasses a multifaceted approach. It’s typically aimed at preparing individuals to excel as transformational leaders to guide businesses and cultures through their transformative journeys. And it all begins by cultivating authentic leadership.

There must be an emphasis on staying true to your values and principles while guiding teams toward shared goals. So, leadership competency training prioritizes trust, resilience, and how best to avoid burnout. Other focus areas are authenticity, effective change management, emotional intelligence, and interpersonal leadership skills. It also pays for leaders to recognize the strengths of introverts and keep a close eye on career growth.

In-Person Vs. Hybrid Leadership Training

Hybrid training took off during the COVID-19 lockdowns and continues to be a popular format for many. The most suitable arrangement is usually that which learners prefer and produces the best outcomes.

Areas of most consideration include, but are not limited to:

  • The nature of the content
  • Audience preferences
  • Engagement requirements
  • Logistical feasibility
  • Budget constraints

If you are unsure, conduct simple surveys or gather stakeholder feedback to help inform your decisions. This approach ensures that the chosen format aligns with company objectives and the needs of your audience.

2024 Planning: Leadership Growth and Development

Consider the following tips to plan for leadership growth and training in 2024 and beyond.

Start by setting clear objectives to help customize programs, allocate resources, and engage stakeholders. Your reputation matters, so prioritize inclusivity and invest in newer technology and training resources if needed. Prospects will be watching you, which is especially important as the US talent shortage continues to deepen.

So, think about sustainability and future-proof your appeal to attract and retain the best people. This strategic and comprehensive approach will help position your organization for sustained success and leadership excellence.

In Conclusion

Comprehensive leadership development training is critical for post-pandemic business success. That includes leaders at all levels, including first-time managers. Companies that invest in training their top talent enjoy higher retention rates and enhanced performance. Successful training initiatives also result in better engagement, change management, innovation, and profits for companies that implement them, compared to companies that don’t train or train well.


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