Effective Leadership Training: The 8 Most Crucial Skills to Develop in 2023

effective leadership training

Effective leadership training plays a pivotal role in shaping leaders responsible for setting goals, making decisions, managing people, and ensuring the smooth functioning of the organization. With the weight of these responsibilities, it becomes imperative to identify and nurture the essential skills that enable individuals to lead high-performing teams, especially in light of the evolving standards and demands of today’s workplace settings.

By prioritizing effective leadership training early on, organizations can foster a growth and continuous learning culture. In addition, this approach allows leaders to develop the necessary skills that support their teams and contribute to the organization’s overall success. To this end, here are some of the most crucial skills that leaders must cultivate through their participation in leadership training programs.

What is leadership training?

Leadership training refers to a structured program or process that aims to develop the skills and qualities required to be an effective leader. Training programs or initiatives involve various activities, such as workshops, seminars, coaching, mentoring, and experiential learning. 

Leadership training programs can vary in duration, content, and approach. For example, some programs focus on skills such as communication, decision-making, or conflict resolution. In contrast, others are designed to develop more general leadership qualities, such as emotional intelligence, resilience, and strategic thinking.

Leadership training can be conducted in various settings, including online, in-person, or a combination. It can be customized to meet an individual’s or organization’s needs and aimed at leaders at all levels, from entry-level supervisors to top executives. Overall, leadership training aims to help individuals develop the skills and qualities necessary to lead and manage people effectively and help organizations achieve their business objectives.

Leadership training can teach individuals how to communicate effectively, build and maintain relationships, motivate and inspire others, manage conflict, and make sound decisions. In addition, by learning about their strengths and weaknesses, individuals can work to improve their skills and become more effective leaders.

Effective Leadership Training Development

Training leaders remains a top priority for large organizations, and they invest in showing it. However, a recent Deloitte report finds that 41% of business leaders believe their organizations fail to meet the needed leadership standards. So, how can L&D leaders know which focus areas matter most? And what should be the main objectives to consider for leaders hungry to learn and develop critical job skills? 

Top Leadership Training Objectives

  1. Develop key leadership skills: Effective leadership training aims to develop essential skills such as communication, problem-solving, decision-making, and conflict resolution. These skills are essential for leaders to manage people, handle challenges and make strategic decisions.
  2. Build emotional intelligence: Emotional intelligence is an important quality for influential leaders. Leadership training can help individuals understand their own emotions and those of others and develop empathy and self-awareness.
  3. Promote team building and collaboration: Leaders need to work collaboratively with their teams to achieve goals. Effective leadership training can help leaders learn how to build and maintain teams and promote a culture of collaboration and teamwork.
  4. Develop strategic thinking: Leaders must think critically and make decisions aligning with the organization’s overall strategy. Leadership training can help leaders develop strategic thinking skills and understand how to align their choices with the organization’s goals.
  5. Improve performance and productivity: Effective leadership training can help leaders learn how to motivate and inspire their teams to achieve high levels of performance and productivity.
  6. Enhance adaptability and resilience: Leaders must be adaptable and resilient in today’s rapidly changing business environment. Leadership training can help individuals develop these qualities and manage change effectively.
  7. Foster a culture of innovation: Effective leadership training can help leaders learn how to provide a culture of innovation and encourage creativity within their teams. This can lead to new ideas, products, and services that support the organization stay competitive.

Effective Leadership Training Selection for Learning and Development

Leadership development programs can benefit leaders at all levels, from entry-level supervisors to top executives. However, the type of leaders who should participate in a leadership development program depends on the specific goals and objectives of the program, as well as the organizational leadership approach for each company. Here are some examples of the types of leaders who might benefit from a leadership development program:

Emerging leaders

Emerging leaders are individuals who are new to leadership roles or who are being groomed for future leadership positions. Leadership development programs can help these individuals develop the skills and qualities they need to be successful in their roles.

Mid-level managers

Mid-level managers are responsible for overseeing teams and departments. Leadership training helps them develop the skills to lead and manage people effectively and make strategic decisions.

Senior executives

Senior executives are responsible for setting the overall direction and strategy of the organization. Strong senior leaders develop strategic thinking skills and make decisions that align with the organization’s goals.

Team leaders

Team leaders are responsible for managing small teams or projects. Developing leadership skills helps them build and maintain teams and to collaborate effectively with other departments.

Functional leaders

Functional leaders are responsible for specific areas of the organization, such as finance, marketing, or human resources. Leadership development programs can help these individuals develop the skills they need to lead their departments and contribute to the organization’s overall success.

Overall, the type of leaders who should participate in a leadership development program depends on the organization’s specific needs and the program’s goals.

8 Most Crucial Development Skills for Leaders 

Professional development and training remain a huge motivator for hiring strong leaders and ensuring a culture of continuous learning and improvement. In addition, strong leaders look for ways to improve their management of direct reports across the organization. Therefore, each training program should highlight topics and skills that will support your team’s growth and identify specific areas of improvement. 

Leadership coaching is one of our specialties at Hone. Our coaching experts have worked with many teams of all sizes to get the right mix of leadership skills to lead unique teams. Here are a few of the most crucial skills we’ve found that L&D teams can ensure are top of mind for their next leadership training events or programs. 

1. Performance Management

Performance management is essential for leaders because it helps maximize employee performance, aligns individual and organizational goals, enhances employee engagement and motivation, identifies training and development needs, and encourages continuous improvement.

Understanding how to effectively evaluate, measure, and communicate performance is a critical soft skill that leaders must have in their repertoire. Performance management lets you organize and align your team on individual and organizational goals while maximizing employee output and engagement.  

2. Coaching and Leadership

Coaching and leadership skills are essential because they can help individuals become more effective leaders, build stronger teams, and achieve better organizational results. In addition, effective coaching and leadership drastically help improve communication to build trust, improve collaboration, and reduce misunderstandings from each contributor. 

This allows for more optimized problem-solving to overcome business challenges and continually motivate employees. In addition, leader encouragement, support, and feedback create a positive work environment to improve overall performance and garner enhanced innovation that can spread throughout the organization.

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3. Hiring

Effective hiring helps build a strong team, foster a positive culture, improve diversity and inclusion, reduce turnover, enhance innovation, and save time and resources. If leaders are skilled in hiring the right people, this saves valuable time and resources. 

Building a team takes a lot of effort to create a positive culture and innovation. Leaders who understand the importance of bringing together diverse teams with unique skill sets will lead the way in their industries and support a healthy view of learning and development. 

4. Organizational Change

Embracing organizational change is an important skill for leaders because it enables them to adapt to market changes, improve organizational agility, manage risk, enhance employee engagement, and drive innovation. Leaders embracing change can position their organizations for long-term success in a rapidly evolving business environment.

Teams that can remain agile and curious can drive innovation in new circumstances. This helps motivate employee growth and crush the status quo for your industry. Strong leadership that embraces change and models positive behavior can help with change management throughout the organization. 

3. Motivation and Development

Motivation and development skills improve employee performance, increase employee engagement, retain top talent, inspire creativity, and build a positive work culture. Leaders who can effectively motivate and develop their employees can help their organizations achieve their goals. 

Good leaders know that each employee is motivated in different ways. Therefore, to retain top talent, your managers should be innovative in supporting individuality for each direct report and team. 

4. Communication and Collaboration

Leaders prioritizing communication and collaboration can help their organizations succeed by modeling teamwork and clarity among team members.

Trust and relationships are the cornerstones of team development, and these crucial skills enable problem-solving and decision-making capabilities. As a result, you should see higher overall work efficiency and productivity with improved communication and employee collaboration. 

5. Wellbeing

Understanding wellbeing is an essential skill for a leader because it promotes employee health, boosts employee morale, reduces absenteeism and turnover, improves organizational performance, and fosters a culture of caring. In addition, leaders prioritizing employee wellbeing can create a healthy and supportive work environment that benefits employees and the organization. 

6. Productivity

Productivity enables team efficiency, enhances competitiveness, enables effective resource allocation, and drives profitability. Leaders who prioritize productivity are good at maximizing resources, improving operations, and achieving business goals.

Healthy competition can motivate many teams, leading by benchmarking success and metrics from highly engaged leaders. This competitive nature can be a differentiating factor for high-growth teams to reach profitability goals. Strong leaders know how to harness productivity for continued success while not burning their teams out. 

7. Strategic Thinking

Strategic leaders can easily zoom in and out of their organization’s short- and long-term goals. They can handle small details while creating a vision and roadmap for the entire team or organization. Strategic leaders connect their daily tasks with organizational goals, identify opportunities and threats, optimize resource allocation, make effective decisions, and promote innovation. 

Leaders who practice strategic thinking develop and implement effective plans that bring in experts throughout the company. This helps each team prioritize tasks, celebrate achievements, and optimize resource allocation for each project. 


Leaders prioritizing DEIB create an inclusive, respectful, and supportive culture for all individuals, improving organizational performance and outcomes. In addition, diverse teams give your organization a broader view of how to make a lasting impact in your field. 

Healthy teams who understand the importance of DEIB will build a culture that remains attractive and focused on individual growth while celebrating differences that make the collective much better with combined perspectives, expertise, and skills. 

How to Succeed at Effective Leadership Training Programs

Decisions do not get made in a vacuum, and L&D leaders need to be able to show the ROI for developing effective leadership training programs. Reach out to all stakeholders to clearly understand which unique development skills align with your company values and standards. These are great starting points to highlight in all of your training materials for leadership training. 

Need some tips on how to measure success for your leadership programs? Hone is here to help! 

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Take a look at our breakdown of the most important factors in figures in Measuring the ROI of Training and Development