Developing Emerging Leaders
We all know these are interesting times. When will the economy fully recover? What do we need to do to get or stay profitable? How do we maintain our competitive edge? Do we have leaders prepared to replace our retiring Baby Boomers? What is leadership going to look like in the next decade? I’m sure this is just a small list of what many of you are asking yourselves and discussing with your teams on a daily basis. This issue will focus on developing the up and coming leaders and paying close attention to those who have recently arrived!
Why pay attention to Emerging Leaders?
There are a few key reasons why paying attention to emerging leaders is important. First, as the workplace becomes leaner and flatter, new leaders have less people available to mentor and coach them on key leadership skills. Further, they have less time and availability to coach and mentor others. This means if a company isn’t intentional about this effort, key leadership development skills may suffer. Second, effective leadership skills are are proven to have a positive correlation with business performance. Some leaders are born and most are made. Even born leaders get better with intentional development. Third, there is a gap as the larger population of Baby Boomers retires and the smaller Generation X moves into leadership roles. Likely, people will be thrust into leadership roles earlier than their predecessors. Are they ready with the skills they need to transition from being a high achiever to an effective leader? Fourth, the economy is changing, the culture is changing, business is changing, new generations are creating change and thus new skills are needed to lead organizations into the future. Fifth, as the economy slowly recovers ensuring these key resources are ready to lead may produce a competitive advantage. Insightful companies are already investing here.
Where do we begin with Emerging Leaders?
If you are convinced that investing in emerging leaders is a good idea, the next step is to take action. First, take stock of what leaders are exiting, what gaps a leaner workplace has created and what leaders are emerging. Second, start to assess what skills will make a difference for your organization’s success and performance. What needs to be different to develop the leader of the future? Third, understand the internal talent available to assist in developing these valuable resources. Fourth, supplement internal expertise with external expertise just as you are doing in other aspects of your business. This helps to keep the organization lean and still provide top notch leadership development. Fifth, plan the program. Will you put together a formal leadership development program? Will you provide team development? Will you provide individual leadership coaching? Finally, get started and help the coming generation sore into the uncertain and exciting future!
“I believe the real difference between success and failure in a corporation can be very often traced to the question of how well the organization brings out the great energies and talents of its people.”
– Thomas J. Watson, Jr.
A Business and its Beliefs (1963)