Programs aims to help you master your leadership style

Ninety-two percent of U.S. employees say learning something new on the job makes them more motivated and engaged in their work, and 79% say that it’s important to them that their employer offers a formal training program. Yet 51% say their companies don’t offer soft-skills training, and only 17% say they’ve participated in management skills training. (Training, November/December 2019)

LeaderLauncher, a Tri-Cities leadership development program for emerging leaders and young professionals, trains high-potential employees for taking the reins of positions above them in the near future. It is completing its first year this month. The idea was born after the Young Professionals of the Tri-Cities (YPTC) ran its course and ended a few years ago, after striving to form a community that focused on community involvement, nonprofit volunteerism and professional development. 

Who is the best fit for LeaderLauncher? It’s for those who are learners, those who seek to be mentored, and who want to increase their influence in their organization and their community. It’s for those who have had a “taste of leadership” and enjoy serving others enough that they aspire to positions where they can make a positive difference in fellow employees’ lives.

There really isn’t an age-cap for those in the LeaderLauncher program. As long as you want to develop leadership proficiencies as part of your professional development, LeaderLauncher is for you.

The program’s registration fee covers 12 months.

Current team leaders benefit from sending their people to LeaderLauncher. Most supervisors have, in their annual goals, some desire to develop their direct reports.

However, the day-to-day duties of running a business or a department often get in the way of people development time. LeaderLauncher comes alongside bosses to assist in the training of their emerging leaders, some of whom might replace them in their succession plan when they move on to greater opportunities.

How does the Tri-Cities benefit from LeaderLauncher?

 It raises the water level of leadership in our community, one stronger leader at a time, especially as the current generation of leaders retires in the next five to 10 years, leaving a huge gap for emerging leaders to fill. And they need solid training.

The investment in the participants pays off when they leave LeaderLauncher sessions with an action plan to apply and discuss back at work with their supervisors and colleagues.

LeaderLauncher has had to adapt to the Covid world by shifting LeaderLauncher to the virtual Zoom world for most of its Tuesday afternoon trainings this year, after starting the 2019-20 inaugural year live in the training room of Retter & Company Sotheby’s International Realty on Kellogg Street, where the participants began forming relationships with each other.

Networking with like-minded learners was one of the initial goals of the program.

Josh Toner of Basin Pacific Insurance and Benefits commented that “I am always in a search for people that want to grow, and LeaderLauncher is an incubator for people at different levels of some sort of growth.”

Toner is a millennial, a now-dominant generation group in the workplace, 65% of whom say they want more formal classroom training. (Read more about Toner on page B15.)

Along with Basin Pacific, some of the first companies to enroll their emerging leaders were AccountSense, Lamb Weston, Columbia Basin College, Northwest Farm Credit Services, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory.

Participants who are unable to attend a session may send a substitute  to get the full value for their annual investment.

Melissa Hall of Lamb Weston believes “LeaderLauncher has been a great resource for building leadership skills. I continue to pull useful techniques for optimizing team members and creating a long-term vision for my team.”

Dalton Cannon of Gravis Law also has grown from LeaderLauncher participation: “My interpersonal and workplace communication have improved directly from the courses I’ve taken with LeaderLauncher.”

Cannon and the 26 others who joined LeaderLauncher in its first year have learned from topics ranging from personal development (avoiding burnout, time management, setting goals) to leadership development (navigating difficult conversations, casting vision, giving presentations).

Though anyone can sign up in any month, year two will offer training on 12 more leadership proficiencies and will feature guest speakers throughout the year. There is potential for a board-ready program, too,  similar to YPTC’s excellent program of recent years.

LeaderLauncher has a big vision: All Tri-City young professionals understanding and mastering their leadership style, multiplying their positive impact to all who follow them.

To learn more about LeaderLauncher as an emerging leader yourself, or if you are a supervisor wanting your team developed into leaders, go to

Paul Casey is the owner of Growing Forward Services and lead trainer of LeaderLauncher.

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