Leadership development is the process of helping employees develop the necessary skills and competencies to take on leadership roles within an organization. This can involve providing employees with training and development opportunities, as well as mentoring and coaching to help them gain the necessary skills and knowledge to effectively lead others.
Effective leadership development is an important component of talent management and succession planning, as it helps ensure that the organization has a strong pool of potential leaders who are ready to take on leadership roles as they become available. By investing in the development of its employees, a company can improve its overall leadership capabilities and create a culture of continuous learning and development.
Some strategies that companies can use to support leadership development include:
- Identifying the leadership competencies that are most important for the organization and designing development programs and training sessions to help employees develop these competencies.
- Providing employees with opportunities to learn from experienced leaders within the organization, such as through mentoring programs or leadership forums.
- Encouraging employees to take on leadership roles within the organization, such as leading teams or projects, to gain practical experience in leadership.
- Supporting employees in their development by providing them with access to resources and tools, such as leadership development books and online courses, to help them build their leadership skills.
- Regularly reviewing and evaluating the effectiveness of leadership development programs and making adjustments as needed to ensure that they are meeting the needs of the organization and its employees.
By investing in leadership development, companies can build a strong and capable leadership team that is ready to take on the challenges of the future. This can help the organization achieve its goals and objectives, and create a culture of continuous learning and development. The following are illustrative examples of leadership development.
The process of identifying the competencies that are critical to an organization to develop bench strength that supports growth and mitigates succession risks.
Formal assessments that allow an employee to demonstrate that they have achieved a competency. This can involve testing or certification of work experiences and performance.
The process of setting objectives for employees and evaluating performance against these targets. This identifies high performers who are candidates for leadership development.
Career planning is an opportunity for employees to communicate their goals for their career and for an organization to communicate what it will take to achieve these goals. This allows employees to express interest in leadership development and for expectations to be set about what the program requires.
Employees in a leadership development program are typically given challenging performance objectives designed to give them experience and to allow them to demonstrate their competence.
Modern leadership development programs are based on transparent processes whereby the criteria for entering and remaining in the program are openly published. This is communicated to fight perceptions that a leadership program is based on favoritism.
Support for education such as high performing employees who want to complete an MBA.
Job rotation is the practice of giving employees experience in a wide range of jobs. In some cases, a firm views understanding a broad range of roles as preparation for leadership. For example, a firm where the CMO is expected to have experience in both sales and marketing positions.
In some cases, roles are created in an organization to develop leadership. For example, splitting your sales team into three separately managed teams to create new management positions that are meant to provide experience for individuals who have potential to be executive management. This may also support succession planning as you develop experienced sales managers who can take over the leadership of the sales department if required.
An organizational culture where authority means little such that employees who find ways to add value end up leading things. This allows leadership development to occur based on the norms of your organization without a formal program.
In many cases, competition between individuals in a leadership development program is encouraged. For example, asking participants to pitch ideas for improvement to executive management would tend to create a competitive spirit amongst participants.
Accomplishing work by asking for employees to voluntarily join a committee. For example, a committee with an objective of making a workplace safer after a series of security incidents. Individuals who take the initiative to join committees that represent extra work are often excellent candidates for leadership development. Committees can also build leadership capabilities by providing diverse work experiences.
Training & Development
The development of training plans and access to internal training, external training, workshops, conferences and other development opportunities.
Programs for transferring knowledge such as lunch and learn sessions. These can be used to give individuals opportunities to improve their public speaking abilities as well as to transfer knowledge to future leaders.
Change management is the process of communicating change and clearing issues. This often involves sidelining resistance to change and empowering agents of change. As such, change management is an excellent path for identifying employees who make things happen and giving them more responsibility.