Leadership development specialists typically have accountability for analyzing, designing, developing, delivering and evaluating leadership development programs for an organization. Leadership development specialists schedule, run and evaluate seminars, workshops and self-paced trainings, if these options are provided to company employees. Expertise in coaching, change management, performance monitoring and business acumen enable a potential candidate to distinguish themselves during the interviewing and hiring process.
Candidates for a leadership development specialist typically have experience working with different organizations within a company to develop and execute leadership development programs. Experience in instructional design processes to ensure the cost-effective creation, implementation and continual improvement of leadership programs enables candidates to prove they have the right skills for the job.
Leadership development specialists need skills in assessing the current levels of performance in the organization. For example, expertise in running surveys, focus groups or interviews can help bolster a candidate’s chance of success at procuring the position. Creating surveys that allow managers to rate their employees on critical skills related to leadership, such as influencing, negotiating, motivating and developing others, can reveal performance gaps that form the basis for developing training plans. Leadership development specialists can write learning objectives that effectively show what skills participants in the development programs can be expected to do upon completion.
Establishing metrics for evaluating the performance of participants involved in leadership programs typically involves reviewing operational metrics. Leadership development specialists need to be able to access reports, interpret meaning and propose solutions that enable changes to employee behavior.
Managing the financial and logistical aspects of leadership development programs requires business acumen associated with the industry aligned with the organization’s primary business. Keeping abreast of current trends in leadership development, including delivery methods, such as distance learning alternatives using web conferencing software, enables leadership development specialist candidates to distinguish themselves to get the job and maintain a competitive advantage over other applicants.
Leadership development specialist positions typically require a bachelor’s degree or sometimes a master’s degree with at least five years' experience in leadership training. Some positions require experience managing an organization as well. Expertise in handling Human Resources issues such as career development, performance management and employee retention tend to be advantageous as well.
Candidates should be able to produce results by inspiring other employees to set goals, make good career decisions and exploit personal leadership strengths. Applicants should be able to generate courses that allow diverse learners to achieve their learning objectives through the use of multimedia courses, seminars and other systematic processes associated with learning.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics: Human Resources, Training, and Labor Relations Managers and Specialists
- "The Center for Creative Leadership Handbook of Leadership Development"; Ellen Van Velsor, Cynthia D. McCauley and Marian N. Ruderman; 2010
Tara Duggan is a Project Management Professional (PMP) specializing in knowledge management and instructional design. For over 25 years she has developed quality training materials for a variety of products and services supporting such companies as Digital Equipment Corporation, Compaq and HP. Her freelance work is published on various websites.