By Stephanie Harder, Client Services Specialist


With so many different leadership programs, classes, books, blogs, podcasts, workshops, online courses and websites available at our fingertips, it begs the question does leadership training really even work? And if so, what is the best format that really moves the needle?

Gallagher has been offering in-person and virtual leadership training resources for over a decade and we followed up with a few of our past program participants to ask if training worked for them.


“[I attended Gallagher’s leadership program after] I had been recently promoted to an upper level management role and was looking for ways to improve my leadership skills. During my training at Gallagher I really learned more about myself and my leadership style. I learned to recognize my shortcomings and worked on ways to improve. I walked away with ideas and concepts to apply to my new role and a better understanding of what it really means to be a leader.”

Tracy Short, Vice President of Service
Cobb Technologies


“The leadership program facilitated by Gallagher provided exactly what our company needed to accelerate the growth of the manager of our technology team. The course work, guidance and direct interaction with managers from other organizations provided exactly what our manager needed to take his skills to the next level.

I have seen this manager apply his newly learned skills dealing with complex staffing issues, team motivation and the enhancement of his own personal vision for his role.”

Jim McCullen, Vice President
Century Distribution Systems, Inc.


“I attended Gallagher Center for Leadership to help prepare me for the next level of management in my career. Through Gallagher Center for Leadership I now know more about myself – compared with the way others see me – which is making me a well-rounded person and better equipped to lead.”

Melissa Crawford, VP, Business Development
Chesapeake Bank

“My invitation to participate in a leadership program was presented to me as I started a new role that included leading a team of 5 individuals. I was blessed with the opportunity to learn from leaders passionate about sharing their knowledge and experiences. My program leaders understood the pitfalls that I would encounter and enabled me to recognize not only my shortfalls but also my strengths that would help me avoid those early pitfalls. They provided a safe environment to explore many different scenarios. They challenged me in every scenario to look beyond my comfort zone. They led me down a path where I came to understand that leading can only be accomplished when you understand your motivation/passion. They taught me that leading is about my entire team and never about an individual.”

Shereth Tran, Manager of Accounting


Our past participants are right. Leadership training does work, but it takes time and effort. Science shows it takes an average of 66 days (about 9-10 weeks) to form a new habit; and learning new (or changing old) leadership behaviors is no different. Long-lasting leadership change does not happen in a day or even a week.

Leadership change also requires real-world application to make new habits stick. Practicing techniques in a training environment is not the same as applying these new skills on the job. Changing behavior is a slow process that starts with learning a new skill, practicing that new skill, getting feedback, and self-reflecting on what worked and what didn’t work.  Having space in between face-to-face leadership classes allows time for practicing new skills, self-reflection, and feedback.

Leadership training also improves if the leader has the opportunity to increase self-awareness; to understand the role he or she plays in any given situation.  Leading is less about the leader and more about the people being led.  Having self-awareness about how you “show up” – your personality and communication style – helps you understand the impact you have on others.  The more you learn about yourself, the more you are able to learn about others.  Understanding and appreciating how others’ differ from you helps you, as the leader, recognize the strength and value that each individual brings to the team. And the leader learns how to flex to and from their style to the style of others to connect and build trust.

Our 10-week, in-person Gallagher Center for Leadership program is carefully planned and organized to instill behavior change in leaders. Our program lays a foundation of self-discovery and then builds to leading groups and teams and finally finishes with leading organizations. We incorporate activities, assessments, videos, and exercises to drive home concepts and reach leaders on many different levels of learning.

For the past 15 years, Gallagher Center for Leadership has been offered solely as an in-person classroom format. The conventional belief holds that in-person training is the best format to instill change because face-to-face interactions create deeper connections and experiences and there is a lesser chance of misinterpretation. However, the digital age has brought many web-based, eLearning opportunities to the foreground, which allow for greater flexibility for the participant. While arguments can be made for both in-person and online learning, the better approach is to instead blend both learning formats into one course to incorporate the best of both.

This year, Gallagher Center for Leadership is offering participants web-based “micro-learning” available both during the course and for six months following. Grounded in the latest neuroscience, micro-learning solutions are designed to elevate employee performance. Science shows that micro-learning is one of the best instructional approaches for employee development because ‘snack-sized’ learning is a realization of how the human brain is wired to learn. The micro-learning we offer condenses and reiterates the knowledge learned in class to further strengthen leadership development and change online.

Our next Gallagher Center for Leadership class begins September 13. Sign up today!