Developing your next leaders – 7 key steps

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As a leader one of your important responsibilities is to developing individuals in your organisation.  One key area of development, especially as the business grows and their management and leadership responsibilities grow, is leadership development itself.

At the strategic level the work of fostering effective leaders for today’s performance and tomorrow’s growth is a vital core function of a leader.

Here we look at seven key steps for growing people into leaders in your organisation:

  1. Develop a strategy for leadership development

The key to achieving business success, especially once a business has taken its first steps away from its start-up phase, is to have excellence in leadership as all levels; strategic, operational and team.  The most common error is to focus leadership development only on the most senior managers and leaders.  In doing so they typically ignore the other two levels.

  • Selection

Modern thinking has now removed the previous thinking of “leaders are born and not made”.  Leaders can be trained or developed however not all individuals have the same levels of leadership potential.  Therefore, when we select our leaders, either externally or promoting from the inside, are we not best to identify the ones that have the highest potential for becoming effective leaders?

  • Training for leadership

As part of your strategic thinking, you should identify your business training needs in the leadership context and assign them a sufficient priority.  Training for leaders comes in a variety of methods – classroom teaching, electronically or our preference one-to-one coaching.

  • Career development

People grow as leaders by the actual practice of leading.  What you as a leader can do to support future leaders is to provide them with suitable opportunities to gain experience in leadership.  A strategic leader in the making will need experience in more than one functional area of the business.

  • Line managers as leadership developers

Good leaders will use their one-to-one opportunities, formal or informal, to share knowledge of leadership in a conversational but effective way.  Can you therefore set up peer support or buddy mechanisms to support the development of leaders?

  • Culture

Make sure that your culture comes to a place of high value on good leadership and leadership for good.  Your culture should encourage a climate of self-development in leadership.

  • The chief executive

In the role of chief executive you own the problem of growing leaders.  HR or external trainers or coaches are there to advise and help.  They can assist you to formulate and implement your strategy, but you are in the driving seat.  Apart from the responsibility, you should be leading from the front and providing clear leadership by example.

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