Organisations need to be planning as to how they can develop and retain the next generation of leaders. Often, managers are promoted leaving a void of talent, skills, experience and knowledge behind them often due to a basic lack of succession planning. The result is a hurried exercise in developing staff to fill shoes, this results in leaders that are not equipped to lead, lacking the skills and knowledge as well as the appropriate behaviours. I have seen newly promoted leaders end up in the ‘panic zone’ leading to stress, decline in motivation and morale amongst their staff and avoidance of all leadership responsibility.
Successful organisations have in-house leadership development programmes in order to develop home-grown talent rather than hiring externally all the time. These programmes are aimed at high-potential employees, those that have been recognised as having leadership potential, they are then put through an extended period of development including training, coaching and mentoring. The aim is to provide future leaders with not only the skills and knowledge to successfully ‘step up’ but also the self-awareness and appreciation of the ‘bigger picture’ to be cross-functional and have a broader vision of the organisation.
Successful programmes implement the following strategies:
- Allow participants to gain a greater insight and exposure of roles across the organisation, this may be done through shadowing, job rotation, in-house networking. This provides a greater understanding of how the organisation ‘works’ improved cross-functional communication and the building of better relationships.
- Provide assignments that requires participants to work with others outside of their department and communication with a range of stakeholders both internally and externally to the organisation.
- Provide mentoring, mentoring provides a sounding board for participants it also provides an opportunity for feedback, both ways. Mentoring also provides support and challenge, encouraging participants to move out of their comfort zone, to try new things, to learn from mistakes and become self-managing. Read more about how we have introduced mentoring into an organisation.
- Offer coaching, individual coaching can provide participants with the support and guidance to help them understand their own potential, to take control of their own development, to understand their areas of weaknesses and strengths and raise their self-awareness.
These are individuals that can shape the future of your business, they could be providing the future direction, and therefore you need to invest in them.
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