5 Steps of Leadership Development: How to Build Strong Leaders

5 Steps of Leadership Development: How to Build Strong Leaders | Leadership | Emeritus

Effective leadership is more critical than ever in today’s fast-paced workplace. According to the Global Leadership Forecast 2023, however, only 40% of employees consider their company’s leadership “high quality”. In fact, this has become a cause of concern as effective leaders are critical to the success of any organization. A strong leadership development program is essential for cultivating the skills and strategies that guarantee success. In this blog, let’s explore the strategies that govern effective leadership development and advance your leadership skills.

leadership development program

What Should be Included in a Successful Leadership Development Program?

A successful leadership development program should include the following elements:

  1. Needs Assessment: A thorough assessment of the organization’s leadership should be conducted to determine the skills and competencies that are most important for organizational success. This will aid in identifying the leadership gaps that must be filled through the program.
  2. A Leadership Competency Model: A clear and well-defined leadership competency model that outlines the skills, knowledge, and behaviors required for effective organizational leadership should be developed.
  3. Curriculum Development: Organizations should develop a comprehensive, tailored, and relevant curriculum that includes a mix of classroom training, experiential learning, coaching, and mentoring.
  4. Executive Coaching: Participants should receive one-on-one coaching to help them apply the skills they have learned in the program to their specific job roles and responsibilities.
  5. Mentoring Programs: Mentoring programs should be established to provide ongoing support and guidance to participants as they develop their leadership skills. Overall, this helps participants build a strong support network and gain advice from experienced leaders.
  6. Assessment of Leadership: Leadership assessments should be conducted regularly to track participant progress and identify areas where additional assistance may be required.
  7. Accountability: Participants should be held accountable for their program development and progress. Regular check-ins, progress reports, and performance evaluations can help with this.

ALSO READ: 8 Key Leadership Roles and How to Thrive in Them as a Leader

5 Steps of Leadership Development

leadership development programAmerican author John C. Maxwell has stressed the important steps of leadership development in his book Five Levels of Leadership. These include:

Level 1: Position

Leadership begins when people follow you because of your title or position. In fact, leaders at this level must concentrate on developing relationships with their team and establishing credibility.

Level 2: Permission

Leaders must obtain permission from their team to lead them after establishing relationships and credibility. This entails establishing trust, demonstrating respect, and listening to team members’ concerns and ideas.

Level 3: Production

This level is concerned with leaders achieving results through their teams. Additionally, they should set goals for their team, motivate them, and hold them accountable for their performance.

Level 4: People Development

Leaders must shift focus from achieving results to developing their team’s skills. Simultaneously, they should learn how to coach, mentor, and develop their team for them to reach their full potential.

Level 5: Pinnacle

The final level of leadership development involves focusing on the organization’s bigger picture. Also, this level of leadership requires the ability to think strategically and make decisions that benefit the organization as a whole. To achieve the organization’s goals, they should be able to collaborate across functions and departments.

Key Strategies for Creating Effective Leaders

leadership development programNegotiation and Influence

Organizations can help develop these skills by providing opportunities for communication, active listening, and empathy training and development. Overall, leaders should develop these skills safely through simulations, role-playing, and real-world scenarios. Moreover, opportunities provided by organizations can enhance leaders’ communication skills, influence, and relationships with their teams and stakeholders.

Change Management

Organizations undergo inevitable change, and successful navigation of teams through it requires effective management by skilled leaders. For instance, organizations can develop a change management framework outlining the steps necessary to assist in developing these skills. At the same time, leaders should foster a changing culture by embracing novel ideas and taking risks. Organizations can also provide training based on a leadership development program to help leaders manage change effectively.


Effective leaders must understand their organization’s strategy. They should be able to align the goals and objectives of their team with it. Organizations can offer training on strategic mindset and aligning goals with the organization’s strategy to develop these skills. Additionally, leaders should inform all employees of a clear strategy guiding decision-making at all levels.

Goals and Milestones

Goal setting and achievement are critical to the success of any organization. Leaders must be adept at setting Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound (or SMART) goals and tracking their progress. Moreover, organizations can offer training focused on setting SMART goals, tracking progress, and celebrating milestones to develop these skills. Overall, this leads to improved performance and a more motivated team.

Accountability and Communication

Effective leaders must be capable of holding their team members accountable for their performance. This necessitates clear communication and the establishment of expectations. Organizations can foster an open communication culture to develop such skills where leaders and employees can share their thoughts comfortably. It’s also important to note that training and leadership development opportunities that focus on communication, setting expectations, and holding people accountable help drive a team’s performance.

ALSO READ: What are People Management Skills? How Important are They at the Workplace?

Looking for a Leadership Development Program?

Effective leadership is critical for any organization’s success: However, many employees believe there is a lack of leadership development in the workplace. Organizations can create a strong leadership culture by implementing the right leadership development program and strategies. This drives business success and inspires employees to reach their full potential. Emeritus offers several online leadership courses whereby certificate and diploma courses are tailored to meet your learning needs. These include flexible schedules too. So what are you waiting for? Begin developing your leadership skills today. Opt for a leadership development program and be the change you want to see at your workplace!

Write to us at content@emeritus.org 

leadership development program

About the Author

Content Marketing Manager, Emeritus Blog
Manasa is the content ninja that every brand needs. Apart from being an expert in tech-related trends and digital marketing, she has found her calling in edtech. Her 10-year-long tryst with education started with a teaching fellowship for underprivileged children, followed by a stint as an edupreneur. It gave her the perspective she now uses to create impactful content for Emeritus. Manasa loves the life of a digital nomad that allows her to travel and hopes her reels go viral on the Gram.
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