A staggering 77% of organizations are experiencing a leadership gap, and many attribute this to the 10,000 baby boomers that are retiring each day [i]. With a leadership gap that’s continuously growing and tens of thousands of potential leaders retiring each week, it is more important than ever that we invest in developing the future leaders of our organizations. The quality of an organization’s leadership team can make or break an organization. Overall culture, ethics, and strategy trickle down from leadership to each facet of an organization.
Gallup recently conducted a study that only 1 in 10 people possess the natural skills necessary to be a great leader. Additionally, based on the information they gathered, they found that the great leaders possess some combination of the following five traits [ii].
- Aptitude for motivating others
- Assertiveness to overcome obstacles
- Excellence in building trusting relationships
- Capability to create a culture of accountability
- Ability to make unbiased decisions that benefit the whole
The next group of leaders that will be stepping into leadership roles will likely be heavily comprised of millennials. Keeping this idea in mind, it’s alarming to discover that 63% of millennials say their leadership skills are not being fully developed [iii]. It is for this reason that it is imperative that we focus our efforts on growing and developing the skillset of those who will one day lead our organizations.
Training Magazine highlights four ways to improve leadership development within your organization [iv].
Develop Your High Potential Employees
It’s important to note the difference between top performers and high potential employees. While your top performance may also be your highest potentials for future leadership, this may not always be the case. Some employees thrive in their current role but may not be driven to lead a team or an organization some-day. Be sure to focus on employees who are driven, highly motivated, and invested in the organization; these are likely your future leaders.
Begin Leadership Development Early
Often organizations wait until the years leading up to retirement to begin developing the next leader or leaders of the organization. It is never too early to start developing leaders. Weave leadership development into entry level all the way up to management positions. It can even be advantageous to incorporate leadership assessments into your recruiting and hiring process.
Create Coaching and Mentoring Opportunities
One of the best ways to develop future leaders is by having them learn directly from other successful leaders. Once you’ve identified candidates that could potentially be great leaders, match them up with a great leader to mentor them, coach them, and consistently provide feedback. A mentor can provide customized guidance that helps prepare junior employees to become more effective leaders in the future. Building these strong relationships early creates opportunities for open, honest lines of communication throughout the leadership development process.
Share Top Level Strategy and Vision Throughout
Often, what happens at the executive level is a mystery to the rest of the organization. While there is always secure information that is for the executive team only, it’s important to be as transparent as possible with the rest of your team. Sharing the big picture vision for the organization, helps get buy in from your employees and helps them be able to adjust their priorities to best align with the company. Understanding all facets of an organization is important for its potential future leaders.