One of the surest ways to “future proof” your organization is to make developing your future leaders a daily activity. Every day! Not when you “find” time, not when you “make” time and not tomorrow. Today and everyday.
If you’re looking at developing future leaders as an expense, even a necessary one, then frankly, you’re looking at it wrong. The development of future leaders is an investment, it’s the one investment that is sure to provide a high rate of return. For your organization, for you, and for your future leaders.
If you’re serious about creating the next generation of leaders in your organization then here’s a path you may want to consider.
- Identify potential leaders. Not all people are cut out to be leaders, so it’s important to identify those who have the potential to be successful in leadership roles. Some qualities to look for include:
- Strong communication skills
- The ability to motivate and inspire others
- A clear vision for the future
- The ability to think strategically and make decisions
- The ability to work well under pressure
- The ability to build relationships and collaborate with others
- Create a leadership development program. Once you’ve identified potential leaders, you need to create a program that will help them develop the skills and knowledge they need to be successful. This program should include a variety of elements, such as:
- Formal training courses
- On-the-job training
- Mentorship programs
- Networking opportunities
- Coaching and feedback
- Provide opportunities for growth. One of the best ways to develop future leaders is to give them opportunities to grow and develop their skills. This could include:
- Assigning them to challenging projects
- Giving them more responsibility
- Promoting them to new positions
- Sending them to conferences or training programs
- Provide opportunities. There is little point to developing future leaders if you’re not providing them opportunities to truly try out their new skills. Let your future leaders lead today! This could involve leading projects, teams, or even departments. By giving your people the chance to lead now, you can help them develop the skills and experience they need to be successful in future leadership roles.
- Provide feedback. Feedback is essential for helping leaders develop and improve. Make sure to provide regular feedback to your future leaders, both positive and negative. This will help them identify their strengths and weaknesses, and make the necessary changes to improve their performance.
This path could lead to the successful development of your future leaders but there is one key element to keep in mind. Make certain your future leaders and being led and not managed. It is vital that they see leadership in action. If the person your future leader is reporting to is a poor leader or a leader due only to their position within the organization, the potential of your future leader is unlikely to be achieved.
Leaders help create the next generation of leaders. Don’t expect today’s poor leader to develop tomorrow’s Authentic Leader. It doesn’t work that way. When you have your future leaders reporting to today’s excellent leaders you’ll have the chance for excellent leadership in your organization for years to come.