Leadership is a critical component of any successful business. But what makes a good leader? Is it something that can be learned, or are some people born with the qualities necessary to lead effectively? In this blog post, I’ll explore the idea that leaders are born, not made, and discuss how you can develop future leaders in your organization. So if you’re interested in learning more about leadership, read on!
Your employees can better build leadership skills in an organization with an intentional strategy to develop them. The successful leader keeps an eye out for leadership potential and nourishes it with growth-friendly environments. The idea is to groom the next generation from within so that candidates are ready to take on those new roles confidently when opportunities arise. And importantly, they understand your company’s cultural values, priorities, and goals.
Building a culture of leadership development
You cannot develop leaders without commitment and a plan. The plan can take many forms, from mentoring or coaching to giving people opportunities to lead projects outside their usual scope. Make it a priority and establish your plan for leadership development.
The first step is to discuss with your existing leadership to identify who on their team has the potential to lead. This conversation is crucial. Challenge assumptions, push for deeper consideration, and to consider every team member equally.
Next, broaden the discussion to your leadership team. Please ensure all know the potential leaders and ask for opportunities to grow them. Cross-disciplinary projects can create great developmental opportunities. And discuss the development of these team members as a group at least quarterly.
Finally, ensure you have identified the leadership development program as a strategy and action plan in your business plan for the coming year.
Mentorship and Collaboration
As you identify the potential leaders in your organization, you also need to create the environment for them to succeed. The resulting culture will both benefit your business and draw the best candidates to your organization. The cultural items to consider here are mentorship and collaboration.
Mentorship is the process of having a more experienced person provide guidance and advice to help another develop their knowledge. Mentorships can be formal or informal. You may choose to assign potential leaders with a mentor. This option requires thoughtful consideration in creating the right pairings. Before formalizing the assignment, you may need time to see how relationships develop with newer employees. Once created, set expectations around how often they will meet, what areas they will focus on and how long the mentorship will last. The informal option doesn’t create specific pairings but calls on leaders to reach out to employees for discussion on their goals, challenges, and opportunities. While tracking your progress is more challenging, encouraging broader connections drives greater engagement.
Collaboration means working together on projects to meet objectives with an improved potential for success through shared insights, ideas, and skills. Prospective leaders need to be able to work together and share their knowledge. You will want them to feel like they are part of a team, not just individuals in it on their own. Collaborating strengthens bonds, builds on individual skills and talents, and identifies developmental opportunities. It starts a culture of collaboration that promotes communication, co-creation, and innovation. The partnership will help to develop the next generation of leaders in your company.
Professional Development Opportunities
The last key to building a culture of leadership development is creating the space for professional development. Create programs for your employees where they can build new skills that will help them become better leaders. They can attend training, and seminars, read books and participate in group discussions.
Leadership must be involved in the development of the programs. They can be a part of the design process to ensure content is interactive, engaging, and relevant to the company culture and vision. A challenge with external training programs is if they aren’t relevant to your company’s values, so explore those differences with the team after the training.
Leadership development programs will help your organization because they allow for new insights so you can create innovative solutions, boost creativity, build skills faster, find better ways to engage employees, and provide them with new opportunities.
Leaders are not born; they are developed over time with intentional strategies in your organization. To develop future leaders, you need to create a culture that focuses on their development. This includes creating coaching and training programs for your teams and exposing them to professional development opportunities. Call me today to discuss potential programs if you want help developing your future leaders.