online training systems, Employee Training, leadership development

How to Design and Deliver Leadership Training with an LMS

by Debbie Williams

There are a variety of critical skills gaps in the workplace, including the corporate leadership skills gap. “A glaring gap exists between the leadership skills organizations have now and the ones they will need in five years,” stated the Association for Talent Development.1 Although this gap has become a huge problem, it has a solution: effective, consistent leadership training.

“The World Economic Forum on the global outlook for 2015 identified the lack of leadership as the No. 3 challenge over the next 12–18 months.” -- The Center for Creative Leadership2

Creating and Delivering Leadership Training with an eLearning System

Providing relevant training is an obvious fix for the leadership skills gap, but how can businesses effectively design and deliver training that results in the leaders they need? Since a learning management system (LMS) provides engaging, on-demand training that can be tailored to the needs of individuals, it is a great tool to get you started.

With an LMS, businesses can design and disseminate leadership training that gets results. Here are a few tips for using an LMS for this very purpose:

1. Create short segments of training that can be self-paced -- When considering the magnitude of the leadership skills gap, it makes sense to provide a lot of training in this area, right? Actually, it can be more beneficial to learners to be fed smaller segments of training, or microlearning, that can be consumed at their own pace.

While you should provide workers with sufficient knowledge (as well as hands-on practice) about how to lead, don’t overload them with information. If they start as weak leaders, too many facts and figures about leadership may shut them down. For the best results, keep things simple in the beginning stages of training. Crafting and delivering leadership-themed microlearning with your LMS is one way to do this.

After each microlearning lesson, give employees a change to practice what they learned in their daily job. Can they improve how they give constructive feedback to peers? Should they contribute more in meetings? Ask employees to implement what they’ve learning and talk about their experience to help make the lesson stick.

2. Include coaching sessions in an employee’s learning path -- A great way to pass on crucial leadership skills is through one-to-one or team coaching. “Coaches prompt leaders to reflect on their experience and draw their own conclusions,” wrote a contributor to “Leadership coaching is… active and requires leaders to think not just about improving, but also how to create an action plan.”

Coaching can be integrated into an online leadership skills training program. Simple LMS features like web conferencing and calendaring can be used to schedule and deliver one-to-one and/or team coaching sessions. These sessions could be included in an individual’s learning path to reinforce what is being taught in online leadership modules.

Using an online learning platform like an LMS to facilitate coaching also has the added benefit of breaking down geographic barriers. Employees can be matched with coaches who are in different offices, states, or even countries in order to get the best fit for their career path. In this case, coaches and learners can connect through the online tools instead of focusing on in-person meetings.

3. Make leadership training collaborative -- An effective leader is good at collaborating with others, coaching people, building teams, and developing the strengths of other individuals. Help your employees grow in these areas by ensuring leadership training is collaborative and not solitary.

An LMS has a wealth of social learning tools, such as webinar functionality, instant chat, language localization, document sharing, online community forums, and other features that connect learners. Use these features to encourage employees to communicate about what they are learning in class, mentor or coach each other, and share ideas.

Related Reading: How to Close the Corporate Leadership Skills Gap 

Is Your Company’s Leadership Skills Gap Getting Smaller or Larger?

The leadership skills gap will be decreased as employers provide consistent, collaborative leadership training and help employees move forward in their careers. Until that point, companies will continue to struggle with a lack of leaders and key personnel who know their business.

Are you closing this gap using an LMS or some other type of training tool? Finding what works for your organization and employees is key to developing leaders who advance your business. A comparison to evaluate online learning platforms can help determine which solution is a best fit for your organization. Click the link below for our free online learning platform comparison tool.

Find The Perfect eLearning Solution With The LMS Comparison Tool


1 The Association for Leadership Development. A leadership skills gap?

2. The Center for Creative Leadership. The leadership skills gap: how to fix what your organization lacks.  

3. ‘Mentoring’ and ‘leadership coaching’ are not the same thing. Do you know the difference?

4. AIA. Designing an effective leadership development program.

Debbie Williams

Debbie Williams

Director, Marketing