Training for New Executives

employee leadership Learning & Development Talent Training

Often, training and development is thought of as a process focused on new employees—as part of orientation, perhaps, or as part of a multiyear training process for junior staff. But we’ve said many times that employees should get training throughout their careers. And that includes when they are at the pinnacles of their careers, as well as when they are just starting out.


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A key example is training for new executives.

Executives Need Training, Too!

Consider an employee who was recently promoted to an executive-level position. She may have previous experience managing a team as a mid-level manager, but now, she’s made it to the organization’s upper echelon, perhaps as a vice president or C-level staff member. Her organization shouldn’t necessarily assume that she can simply step into the role without additional training and support just because she has the skills, experience, personal characteristics, and other factors that made her a great choice.

Many in executive and leadership positions don’t get much, if any, training. This may be because those leaders or the organization as a whole simply thinks they don’t need additional training. Or, it may be because top staff are often extremely busy. But it certainly isn’t because they wouldn’t benefit from it.

Critical New Competencies for Senior Leaders

There are certain skills and responsibilities that are often specific to executive-level positions that new entrants may have little or no prior experience with.

For example, the new executive may not be used to the dynamics of leadership or executive-level management and decision-making. This person may benefit from learning tools to make him or her a more effective delegator. He or she might find value in learning additional time-management strategies.

Finally, virtually all new executives—or even longtime executives, for that matter—can benefit from training that reminds them of their role as a leader in the company, which includes expectations on mentoring, setting examples for all levels of the company to follow, and serving as the organization’s face to the outside world.

Employees are promoted to executive positions because they have the right characteristics, skills, and experience to succeed in that role, not necessarily because they already know how to do the job. It’s easy to assume that a vice president, president, or C-level executive already knows everything he or she needs to know about how to do the job, but any employee, at any level, can benefit from additional training.

How could your senior leaders benefit from additional training?

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