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Leader Communication Trends: 8 Hot Topics in Learning & Development

Updated: Feb 10

by Stephanie Bickel

leader communication

Human Resource Guide to Professional Development Trends

Even with the disruption in the workplace, professional development trainings are still in high demand. Why is that? Organizations recognize that their people need to work differently to be successful in a remote environment. An environment that will likely not change anytime soon.

Over the last few months, several professional development themes have emerged from leadership communication workshops we have led. How well do your organization’s needs match up with these?

1. Managing others

Managing others is a topic that continues to rise above the rest. People want to know how to set up a successful team and move from someone who “does” to someone who “delegates”. They want to learn how to balance their own assertiveness with empowering others to actively share ideas. Mentorship and coaching were also important with wanting to influence teams early on in their career.

2. Difficult conversations

When it comes to difficult conversations, delivering peer-to-peer and upward feedback is what people want to work on the most. How can you deliver constructive feedback in a way that motivates others to change for the better? In general, methods and techniques for any type of conflict resolution are in demand.

3. Presentation skills and messaging

Our executive presence continues to be put to the test as we now communicate more over a computer screen than in person. Our messaging needs to be more clear, concise, and compelling to win over internal and external audiences. Participants expressed the need to expand their virtual presence, both visually and vocally. They also wanted to craft better messages and stories to drive action and inspire change.

4. Change management and influencing skills

Change is all around us. We need to be able motivate all stakeholders - teams, leaders, and clients - to embrace change with us. People want to learn how to build relationships and use a variety of influencing techniques to pull people towards their ideas.

5. Problem solving

With all the distractions around us, someone’s ability to make hard decisions, and make them quickly, is a skill that people admire. How can you effectively run a meeting to make a decision and leave with a clear path forward? Critical thinking is also important for the success of each department. What best practices can be adopted to get the greatest ideas out of your teams?

6. Career progression

It is not just one career path fits all. People are interested in how they can set themselves up for success and chart their own course at their organization. How can they progress to becoming a leader and what skills are needed to get that promotion? What opportunities exist for different tenures and roles?

7. Personal growth

Attitude and motivation are especially important when thinking about personal growth. If a colleague feels there is little internal growth, how can they continue to push themselves? Or, is that perfectionist mentality creeping in? What can they do to be more 80/20? Help your teams develop a growth mindset when the odds are stacked against them.

8. Processes

Learning essential processes is necessary to help us do our jobs more effectively and efficiently. There is still a high demand to know excel, power point, reporting systems, and project management platforms even better. Our participants are also yearning to be a part of the planning process earlier on so they can help set realistic timelines, strategies, and scope.

As our working environment continues to evolve, so do professional development needs. What is needed most at your organization? How can you help your people grow and succeed while working from home?

What you do to get them there will help set your organization apart from the competition.

People will want to work for you because you are dedicated to helping them be the best versions of themselves.


Speak by Design University creates great leaders. It’s the only leadership communication program in the world that gives you access to self-paced learning, group coaching and training and, most importantly, private one-on-one coaching. Learn more and register.

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