Business leaders play a key role in shaping the future of your organization. Hiring employees with the right skills to perform their job isn’t enough. You must provide them with proper resources and support to turn them into future company leaders.
But it’s important to understand that leadership development isn’t as simple as asking employees in managerial positions to attend a few conferences and seminars. Nor is it solely about recruiting skilled talent in leadership roles.
If you want to steer your company towards success, you must have a keen eye to identify and nurture potential leaders. It’s also crucial to provide them with the right incentives and motivation to tackle the challenges of becoming a business leader.
In this blog, we’ve outlined a few useful tips to help you build a strong leadership development program for your company. Let’s take a look.
Identifying Leadership Potential
When it comes to filling leadership positions, the natural tendency among business owners is to start an external search. You’ll ask managers and recruiters to be on the lookout for talented professionals who can fill the knowledge gaps in your organization.
But that strategy is time-consuming, labor-intensive, and expensive.
Instead of looking for potential candidates outside your organization, you must keep an eye out for existing employees who exhibit leadership qualities. Of course, not all employees will have what it takes to lead an organization.
But maybe there’s a marketing manager with excellent critical thinking and communication skills. Or a sales rep could be demonstrating outstanding negotiation capabilities. With the right training and resources, these employees could turn into future leaders of your company.
The simplest way of spotting leadership potential among employees is to push them out of their comfort zones. If an employee shows promise, assign them to a different department and observe how they perform.
Being adaptable and welcoming challenges with open arms are signs of a true leader.
Apart from letting you identify prospective leaders, it’ll also help your employees gain a broader understanding of how different departments in the organization work. It’ll turn them into creative problem-solvers with great critical thinking and decision-making skills.
Providing Continuous Training
Attending multiple seminars on “How to become a business leader” won’t inculcate leadership skills in promising candidates. Instead, you need to create a framework for continued learning and development.
Once you’ve identified leadership potential in an employee, connect with them to understand their professional aspirations. Their goals should match those of your organization. If that’s the case, ask them about the kind of training and resources they need to become a leader.
Start small by letting them take charge of a project or specific section of a department. Assign a mentor who can handhold them and prepare them for unexpected challenges. Also, check whether they need to hone any specific skills to better lead a team.
Make sure you continue to challenge them with new assignments and tasks. It’s the best way to help potential leaders hone their skills on the job.
The Power of Peers
Cultivating leadership skills in an employee, and promoting them to a strategic decision-making role isn’t enough. You must help them find the right support to tackle the new role and its challenges.
Business leaders, particularly CEOs, often feel isolated in their professional and social circles. Not everyone is equipped to discuss and resolve the roadblocks they face while running an organization. That’s where peer groups for CEOs step into the picture.
Think of peer groups as a close-knit community of CEOs and entrepreneurs from different industries. They connect – in-person or virtually – a few times every month to share their professional goals and challenges.
Also, they provide solutions to the problems other members are facing at their job.
Peer groups for CEOs are a more effective alternative to traditional mentoring. They help your company’s leaders perceive business challenges from a new perspective. Also, they keep leaders focused and motivated.
Nurturing Existing Leadership
A leadership development program shouldn’t solely focus on building future leaders for your company. It’s just as important to address the needs and pain points of existing leaders in your organization.
Make it a norm to regularly connect in-person with managers, department heads, and other employees in leadership roles. Ask them about their career goals, and analyze whether they align with your company’s vision.
Dig deeper to understand the challenges they’re currently facing at their job. Find out what kind of support they need to perform their job better in the future. Understand what motivates them to give their best to your company.
Monitor and Reward
Identifying leadership potential in skilled employees isn’t enough. You also need to motivate them to work hard and develop their leadership capabilities. Start by regularly monitoring and evaluating their performance.
Meet them once a month to discuss their challenges and provide constructive feedback.
It’s just as important to make them realize that they mean more to your company than average employees. Providing financial incentives and benefits won’t do the trick. You want them to share your vision and goals for the company.
A clever tactic is to potential leaders with a handful of company stocks. It’ll create a sense of ownership, and motivate them to go out of their way for the growth of your business. You could utilize the same strategy to boost productivity for existing company leaders as well.
Start Building Future Leaders Today
Leadership development is important for the growth and success of a company. Whether you’re running a small business or global conglomerate, keep an eye out for employees with leadership potential.
Also, focus on retaining existing leaders with the right resources and support.
Additionally, it’s a good idea to encourage employees in leadership roles to join a mastermind group. It can be instrumental in helping them overcome the problems that come with being a business leader.
Don’t forget to encourage potential leaders with suitable rewards and incentives too.
What steps are you taking to prepare potential leaders in your company? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.