Aldrin Links, Director: Human Resources – Fairheads Benefit Services
A good business is only as good as its leadership and this means that companies need to invest in empowering leaders to give of their very best.
At this time in particular- as many companies have moved post-Covid to a full work-from-home or a hybrid working model – leaders need to be able to bring their skills to bear, as sometimes communication may be limited to online calls or Whats App groups.
For some people, leadership skills do not come naturally, but companies can provide the necessary training through leadership development initiatives
Where to turn?
There are some formal training programmes available through the relevant SETAs; for example through the Services SETA, employees can pursue a course which if successfully completed, awards the learner with a National Certificate – General Management NQF L5.
Several training service providers offer such courses on an outsourced basis to the company; for example one such company is Brain eBox, a Level I BB-BEE contributor founded by Sheree Comninellis, a training and development specialist and entrepreneur.
Look for a course that is comprehensive, for example with modules ranging from decision-making, finance, brand awareness, ethics, communication, change management and project management to name just a few. Some important “softer skills” should also be covered for personal development, such as emotional intelligence, negotiation skills, conflict management and employee wellness.
Leaders wishing to attend such a course need to make a firm commitment as the learning is time-consuming and comes on top of their ‘day job’. Service providers therefore sometimes spread the learnership over a period of two years to accommodate operational requirements while giving as much time as possible for quality transfer of knowledge and skills. It is important not to allow operations to be interrupted in any way.
Most courses will provide for a formative assessment based on theory and a summative assessment based on workplace experience for each module. The latter is very important in order to apply the skills learnt into practice.
In addition to empowering its leaders, the company may find interesting side benefits. As the teams pick up extra work while their leaders are busy with the coursework, enhanced team co-operation and support may develop. What is more, course attendees are generally exposed to other departments, and so inter-departmental knowledge, collaboration and understanding is also improved.
And depending on the service provider chosen, there could be other corporate benefits such as tax advantages and contributions towards a BBB-EE scorecard in terms of training and enterprise development.