Do you have emerging leaders under your management? Are you developing a leadership pipeline for your organization?
The development of leaders is important for your organization, as well as for the future success of the leaders. One key to developing leaders is making sure that you have the right people in the right place.
However, it takes more than simply moving potential leaders into a leadership position to help them be successful. A calculated approach to the growth and development of emerging leaders is essential. Another key to developing leaders is to lead by example.
How do you become the leader that emerging leaders want to follow?
Develop a Leadership Plan
Identify the skills and strengths that your emerging leaders need. Then develop a systematic approach to helping them attain those skills. This can include conferences, training opportunities and more. Communicate your plan to the emerging leader. Allow them to buy in to the idea and the development plan.
Many leaders allow emerging leaders to have unlimited flexibility and freedom. However, this method is not effective for most upcoming leaders. Emerging leaders rarely have the experience or skills necessary to be given free range. Allow emerging leaders to develop leadership practice gradually will give them time to hone their skills in a controlled environment. Determine what the focus of your training will be, and then give your employee consistent opportunities to practice those skills.
Establish High Expectations
Encourage emerging leaders to reach for top performance. Teach them to be accountable for reaching their goals. Help them to learn to set realistic goals for themselves and set incremental milestones to help them reach their goal. In the beginning, this may require your assistance as they learn to set (and reach) milestones. Gradually allow them to take ownership of the process.
Find Their Strengths
Be open about your own strengths and weaknesses. Look for ways to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the emerging leaders. Encourage them to develop their strengths and find ways to compensate for their weaknesses. Rather than allowing them to “stretch” beyond their comfort zone, help them develop their skills while they are under your leadership. This will help them build confidence in their abilities and allow them to know their limitations in the future.
Emerging leaders want to be mentored. Establish a relationship with the emerging leaders in your organization that cultivates communication. Schedule regular meetings to assess their progress and make corrections as necessary. These can be both formal and informal meetings but should take place often enough that it becomes habitual.
An important skill in leadership is both personal and professional growth. Encourage emerging leaders to seek growth opportunities – both in and out of the office. Share your own growth stories and ways that you seek additional development.
Becoming a leader that others want to follow requires you to exhibit the skills you want to see in others. Are you looking for outgoing, collaborative leaders? Show them what it looks like in practice. Want emerging leaders to take initiative? Demonstrate how that looks, and then offer them opportunities to try it out. How are you going to encourage emerging leaders in your organization?
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea™. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.