As an employer, leadership development is crucial for your organisation and is a key aspect of management that all employers must engage in. Without effective leadership development practices in place, your organisation may well be facing an uncertain future, as key skills are lost and invaluable experience fails to be shared and passed on.
The following advice highlights some of the key strategies in leadership development once you have hired and identified potential future leaders.
Ensure that your future leaders are able to fully appreciate all aspects of your business and gain a broad-based knowledge of your industry. They will need a strong grasp of the present conditions as well the future direction of your industry and your organisation. This is essential learning for any future business manager who may one day make the decisions that shape your organisation.
Leadership development works if your future leaders understand and experience the different roles of the employees in your organisation. They will one day make decisions that may affect them so it is important that they develop an understanding from differing perspectives.
Place your future leaders in real business situations that will push them as much as possible. Giving them challenging projects will reveal their capabilities as well as develop their critical thinking skills and creativity. When faced with unfamiliar and difficult tasks they learn new skills. It will also improve their confidence and this goes a long way to enhancing their commitment to the organisation.
As an employer, you have a responsibility to support all employees and more so in the case of leadership development. The decisions they make to solve issues may not be your ideal course of action yet supporting your future leaders demonstrates trust and respect.
Mentoring and coaching
Your aspiring leaders need to feel that there is someone they can turn to for advice, guidance and support on a professional level. The mentors can be senior employees within your organisation, retired executives or relevant professionals in other companies. Developing a structured mentoring programme is imperative in order to build these valuable relationships. Often overlooked is the creation of programmes that focus on coaching and mentoring others which will prove a useful skill as a leader.
Without regular constructive feedback, your leadership development programme can fail before it starts. Let your future leaders know how they are performing. They will be eager to find out if they are doing a good job and if there are any areas for improvement or further development. Feedback will help you to identify early on if there are any issues or if you need to make any changes to the pace or structure of their development.
Do ensure you recognise your future leaders’ achievements and growth throughout the leadership development programme and reward them accordingly. This may be in the form of performance goals, the challenge of further responsibility, a new job title, financial incentives and compensation or even a greater stake in the company’s future or the company itself. Ensure you know what motivates them and tailor your reward system to suit. However you reward them, your future leaders will appreciate the gestures and feel more motivated and committed to sharing in the vision of your organisation.
And remember, as a leader yourself you are the best example to follow for the role so review your own approach from time to time to ensure you lead by example.
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