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Six Low-Cost Ideas for Leadership Development

Your team is hungry for leadership development, but your company doesn’t have the budget to offer training programs. This was the exact dilemma a client of mine was facing. How could she keep her team engaged by satisfying their request?

Together we brainstormed six ideas that you may find useful.

Lunch & Learn

A lunch and learn program—or coffee and conversation—is a relatively easy way to provide your team with exposure to other leaders and leadership ideas. It doesn’t have to be complicated or over-orchestrated. Two ideas that work in-person or online include:

Guest Speaker

You invite a peer from another organization, a friend with interesting career experience, or another leader within your own organization to speak to the group. One key thing, in my opinion, is to make it as low effort as possible for your guest. For example, you might interview them, so their preparation is little to none. Ask about their career path, about their leadership lessons, how their team is organized. You’d be surprised at how these types of conversations spark ideas and inspire others to grow.

Group Watch

You can designate time to watch a TedTalk or other online program together followed by group discussion on the topic. As a leadership opportunity, you can rotate responsibility for finding the video and facilitating the conversation. Depending on this size of your team, small group discussions with 2 or 3 people might make sense.

Book Club

While requiring a bit more time commitment and recognizing not everyone likes to read, a book club is nevertheless a great way to coalesce around a topic of interest. Variations include listening to a podcast or watching a video on your own followed by a discussion of key take-aways. As part of a certification program I recently completed, our class regroups quarterly to review a book that we’ve all read. It’s a wonderful way to reinforce learning on a specific topic.

Newsletter Subscriptions

Another simple idea is to point your team to leadership newsletter subscriptions where they can ingest whatever topics resonate with them. A few of my favorites include:

Shared Learning Channel

Another idea my client and I thought of is to create a space (e.g., Slack channel) where resource sharing is encouraged. Group members could post podcasts, articles, books, videos and other resources that they found valuable. You might tag them by topic for search-ability.

As you can see from these examples, leadership learning activities do not have to be expensive or complicated. What ideas would you add to the list?


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