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Getting the Most from Leadership Development – Part 2

December 07 2020 - by Dr. Lois Parkes, Leadership Development and Institutional Strengthening Specialist, CARICAD

In our previous blog – Getting the Most from Leadership Development Part 1 – we focused on the role of managers and leaders in supporting their staff in their preparation for and the transfer of learning from leadership development interventions. In Part 2, we will be focusing on the role of the individual trainee/participant in ensuring that they get the most out of their engagement in leadership development programmes.

Unlike many other types of learning interventions, leadership development programmes are uniquely participant-led. Growing and developing as a leader is not an academic exercise. Ultimately the participant chooses what they take away from the programme, what they will implement, and how they will change their mindset and behaviours (or not). Quality of leadership programme design, delivery, facilitation and participant engagement are of course important. However, leadership transformation is an inside job. So how can a participant get the most from a leadership development programme that they are participating in? We suggest 3 broad strategies:

Prep Up – Individual preparation for the leadership development programme is essential. Even if the programme is a requirement for promotion, challenge yourself to not approach this as an administrative requirement. Rather, ask yourself in what ways do I need to grow in my leadership? Solicit feedback from your supervisor and/or other trusted colleagues. Think about the leadership challenges you are currently facing or will likely have to confront in the future, and what help you might need to address those effectively. Many leadership programmes commence with a psychometric or other types of assessment. Complete those assessments honestly and be open to receiving the results, which may in fact reveal some of your blind spots.

Step Up – This is the programme participation phase. Choose to fully engage in the leadership learning and development process. Ensure that you block the necessary time to attend sessions, do pre-readings/viewings and assignments. Be intentional about engagement in the application process, asking questions, and reflecting on what you are learning, what it means, and how you intend to apply and/or change based on the insights received.

Follow Up – This phase should commence during the programme but certainly focuses on the question, Now What? As the old adage goes, the proof of the pudding is in the eating. Make a definitive plan of action for implementing what you have learned. What leadership behaviours will you improve, or begin to practice – emotional intelligence, more strategic thinking, new performance management practices, leading change for effectively? If you should ask your staff or supervisor how your leadership has improved since participating in the programme, what should they be seeing? Improvements will not come about automatically. Rather, it will happen through deliberate goal setting, action steps and self-assessment of progress.

In a nutshell, getting the most from leadership development requires intentionality. You will get out of it what you put into it.

Check out our Call for Applications for our Transformational Leadership Development Programme by clicking on the following link -

Also visit and subscribe to our YouTube Channel – Caribbean Leadership Project – for testimonials on the our impact of leadership development programmes on participants.

We would love to hear your feedback on our blog.