It’s the foundation for future success, providing a clear pathway for succession planning. In the present tense, developing talented leaders gives the organisation effective direction, their ability to support, motivate, and provide the environment for their staff to produce their best work, can lead to enhanced productivity and growth.
And it’s a powerful indicator of a strong employer brand; signalling the organisation’s commitment to career development for its employees, a primary attraction for many a talented jobseeker. Think about the great football teams, of how the most talented players have tended to gravitate towards the best managers. The same is true across all industries, all organisations.
Meaning a need to continually monitor, understand, and audit the way you develop new leadership potential.
Define the Qualities and Competencies you want from your leaders
Do you know what skills and specific qualities you are looking for in your leaders? Because if you don’t then neither will those talented workers earmarked for progression. Every company will have its own view of what good leadership is, so you’re on dangerous ground if your training and development is focused on generic qualities that can be too vague to adequately define.
Then to correctly develop the candidate that you want, you need to have a clear understanding of what you need.
Understand the qualities that reflect both the culture of the business, and are required to achieve success within the business. You want your leaders to represent the best traits of the organisation, while having the credibility and respect of the employees.
Are you clear in who you have identified as potential leaders?
Being clear in who you are identifying as future leadership contenders can be an effective barometer of your development programme overall.
A powerful employer brand is built upon a culture of supporting staff, and nurturing talent. This culture can be brought to the fore if you are open about how you identify candidates with high potential, and can demonstrate a clear developmental and training plan that runs concurrent with their existing role.
Do you have a mentor system in place for future leaders? Opportunities for them to work closely with existing leaders and managers, helping them understand both the nuances of seniority as well as fostering a consistency of approach in advance of any transition of role.
Feedback, Evaluation, and Review
Assessing the progress at various touchpoints through the training process needs to be in place with all identified candidates, ensuring that they are on the right track. While also providing valuable insight into the success or failings within the process as a whole; offering opportunities to amend or change as required.
Feedback sessions, 360 reviews and leadership assessment meetings can help you to learn the extent to which the candidate is developing the required competencies. If not, why not? Are there aspects of the training that need to be changed or improved? After all, you’ve already identified the candidate as leadership potential.
So, yes, leadership training is important. But it can only be successful if it’s being effectively delivered. Therefore it’s crucial to have an understanding of how your training and development strategy is performing. From understanding what you need from a leader in your organisation, identifying early those with leadership potential, and investing, mentoring, supporting, and assessing their progress through each stage of development. And taking the appropriate steps to continually measure its effectiveness, ensuring continuity of leadership, and demonstrating a culture that supports talent, and breeds success.