It’s true that the best companies derive value from all levels of their organization. At the same time, there’s no denying that good leaders are essential to any company. Although we might feel like some people are simply natural leaders, there is actually a fairly big industry revolving around leadership development.
Unfortunately, many observers note that most leadership programs end up wasting both time and resources. The reason is they simply aren’t always well thought out and well implemented. Here are a few tips that can help improve the success of any leadership development plan.
Evaluate the Available Talent
Organizations should be thinking early and often about their companies’ talent pool. Who are the rising stars? Who seems to have demonstrated leadership potential?
What Skills to Focus On
It would be virtually impossible to develop an exhaustive list of the skills needed for tomorrow’s leaders, but here are a few to start with.
- Goal setting. When potential leaders are identified, they should understand that leadership is a long-term journey. In that regard, they should be well versed in how to set, track, and achieve long-term goals. This isn’t something that comes naturally to everyone, but it’s a skill that can and should be learned by those seen as the future of the organization.
- Soft skills. Soft skills will go a long way for leaders. These include the ability to get along well with all levels of an organization, the ability to feel out a room, and the ability to defuse conflict, among others.
- Time management. The old sitcom image of a lazy boss who over-delegates and hardly does any actual work of his or her own doesn’t reflect the reality of leaders being extremely busy. Teaching them to manage their time effectively is a must.
- That being said, leaders do need to be able to delegate. They can’t do it all on their own, which is why they are put into positions that oversee teams in the first place.
A Continuous Journey
Leadership development is not as simple as identifying potential leadership ability, providing a couple of training sessions, and moving on. It requires regular and consistent follow-up and coaching.
Most people would probably agree that strong leaders are key to the success of any business. But too few are proactive enough to spend the time up front to identify and develop potential leadership talent in their organizations.
The companies that can do so and do so effectively will not only have a leg up over their competition but also be able to sleep better at night knowing they have a plan in place for the future.