Monica Wofford is author of Make Difficult People Disappear and Contagious Leadership. Featured on CNBC, NBC, Forbes, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Monster.com, Entrepreneur.com and more.
Whether training has not been budgeted for or is simply not in the budget for right now, your leaders still need consistent and effective skill development. But how do you do that when you don’t feel you have the internal resources and can’t afford big expensive external resources? How do you provide training to leaders when you simply don’t have the budget? Here are three ways to help your managers become better leaders without breaking the bank.
1. Utilize Webinars and Online Learning
Your greatest retention and skill transfer will be in the live learning classroom, however, if a webinar or online learning session is structured well, topic specific, and delivered with interaction, these are great solutions for smaller skill sets. Webinars range in price but are less expensive than live learning. Do be careful with webinars and MOOCs that are free as you often do “get what you pay for” here. High quality webinars also eliminate travel costs and reduce productivity loss with their one hour time frame.
2. Utilize In House Experts
For training on software or products, in house experts are readily found. For the more complex, less technical skills such as leadership, coaching, communication, or team building, an in house expert can be harder to find. Look for those who do it well and are fairly new to their leadership success. Those who’ve done it for years at a high level no longer remember the steps needed to train others in their way of doing things. Also ensure any in house leadership training experts you use or choose have the credibility with the audience. For example, choose Directors or above to train front line supervisors. Choose Executive VP level leaders to train middle managers. Even if they don’t conduct the entire training, have them be a part of the course to provide the needed expertise, perspective and guidance.
3. Use Structured Mentoring Programs
Perhaps your organization doesn’t have enough managers to fill a live class or not every manager is in need of the same development and training at this time. One way to reduce training costs, but also pinpoint the needs of each leader, is through structured mentoring programs. Create these by outlining the expectations of the mentor and mentee and carefully selecting the participants for each side of the program. Structured leadership mentoring programs work well when each mentor is on the same page about what is expected of them, is clear on the processes used in the mentee’s role, and when all mentors are in agreement with the “right” way to lead based on the culture of the organization. That last piece may well be your biggest hurdle to implementing such a program.
Limited budgets can make you feel like you’re prevented from doing any training at all, but don’t give up. Those leaders need you and you need them to lead. These options will help. In fact, I’ll take it one step further and share with you the upcoming schedule of webinars conducted in partnership with The NonProfit Times. Even if you’re not a nonprofit, but feel like your budget LOOKS like a nonprofit’s, this schedule and these courses would be worth a closer look.