Strong leaders drive businesses to achieve greatness, while ineffective leaders create cascades of damage. It is imperative to build a pipeline of promising leaders across disciplines, and it’s never too early to begin.
A staggering 77% of organizations are experiencing a leadership gap due to the Great Resignation and the nearly 10,000 baby boomers retiring each day. With a leadership gap that’s continuously growing, it is more important than ever that we invest in developing the future leaders of our organizations.
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 great leaders possess some combination of the following five traits.
- 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 company
The next group of leaders that will be stepping into leadership roles will be heavily comprised of millennials. By the year 2025, it’s estimated that 75% of the workforce will be 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. We must focus our efforts on growing and developing the skill set of those who will one day lead our organizations.
1. 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 potential for future leadership, this might not always be the case. Some employees thrive in their current role but may not be driven to lead a team or an organization someday. Be sure to focus on employees who are driven, highly motivated, and invested in the organization; these are likely your future leaders.
2. 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’s never too early to start developing leaders. Weave leadership development programs into all levels of experience. It can even be advantageous to incorporate leadership assessments into your recruiting and hiring process.
3. Create Coaching and Mentoring Opportunities
Pairing future leaders with established and successful leaders through mentorship can be an effective method of development. 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 on creates opportunities for open, honest lines of communication throughout the leadership development process.
4. Share Top Level Strategy and Vision Throughout
Sharing the big picture vision for the organization helps get buy-in from your employees and helps them adjust their priorities to best align with the company. Understanding all facets of an organization is important for its potential future leaders. Transparency helps to build trust, and two-way communication creates a culture of empowerment and value.
Investing in leadership training programs builds a pipeline of potential that can weather unexpected vacancies and opportunities. A proactive approach must be used to prepare for future generations, crises, and the growth of your business.
To learn more, listen to our podcast, “Bring Out The Talent” where special guest, Bruce Tulgan, founder and CEO of Rainmaker Thinking and Leadership Expert, shares his insights about the challenges leaders face today in the episode: Leadership: Leading with Structure and Substance.