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Within your organization, there are likely several contributors who have leadership aspirations and potential. For upper management, giving these members the skills, resources, and opportunities to grow into becoming good leaders and filling leadership roles is particularly crucial for the company’s future success.
And while there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are a few key steps you can take to develop the leaders within your company.
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1. Figure out Who the Potential Leaders Are
If you want to create a culture of leadership and excellence within your company, you need to first identify the individuals who have the aspiration for a leadership role. In some cases, this motive will be clear. But in others, you may have to look for more subtle signs.
Potential leaders are often the ones who are:
- Always looking for new opportunities and challenges.
- Quick to take on additional responsibilities.
- Natural-born problem solvers.
- Proactive and engaged employees.
As a matter of fact, some of these individuals are just high performers who prefer to be individual contributors. But in general, these are the types of employees you want to start with.
You can also survey your organization for potential leaders by looking at which employees are already in leadership roles within their department or on special projects. These individuals have likely already demonstrated some level of leadership ability. They could also be ready to take on more responsibilities.
2. Create Opportunities for Your Leaders to Grow
Once you’ve identified the potential leaders within your company, then it’s time to start creating opportunities for them to grow. This could include, for example:
- Asking for their input on strategic decisions.
- Giving them additional responsibilities.
- Encouraging them to take on leadership roles in special projects.
- Mentoring or coaching them.
- Building a leadership development program.
As a result of these activities your leaders will grow their skills and confidence. Then they can eventually take on more significant leadership roles within your company.
3. Create a Leadership Development Program
One of the best ways to develop leaders within your company is to create a leadership development program. This type of program can take many different forms. However, in general, it should include:
- A curriculum of coursework or training on topics like effective communication, conflict resolution, and teambuilding.
- Mentorship opportunities with senior leaders.
- Leadership development workshops.
- Shadowing or job-shadowing experiences.
- The opportunity to lead special projects.
- One-on-one consulting time with current company leadership.
When building your leadership development program, tailor it to your potential leaders’ needs and interests. With this in mind, there should be some level of personalization so that each leader can get the most out of the experience.
You should also align it directly with your company’s goals and values. Basically, this will help ensure that your leaders develop the skills they need to succeed in their future roles.
4. Make It Easy for Them to Communicate with You
As a manager, your responsibility is to create an environment where your leaders feel comfortable communicating with you. Specifically, this means being accessible and approachable and creating a safe space for honest feedback.
In short, your leaders should be able to come to you with their concerns, ideas, and suggestions without feeling like they will be punished or disregarded. In return, you should provide them with honest feedback about their performance and development.
If you can create this type of relationship with your leaders, you’ll be able to help them grow more effectively into their roles.
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Developing leaders within your company is particularly essential to its long-term success. By taking the time to identify potential leaders and invest in their development, you can create a pipeline of talent that will help your business succeed for years to come.
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