Leadership development is crucial to a company’s growth and sustainability, and most companies have some sort of leadership development program in place. Not all programs are equally effective, however.
Here’s how you can supercharge your leadership development program in 2019 so your company can benefit from stronger leaders who are growing their skills.
Putting first things first
A common problem is companies don’t take the crucial first step of defining leadership needs before engaging in leadership development efforts. Targeting specific needs will yield the most effective results for your company. When project leaders develop better ways to motivate their teams, for example, projects may be completed faster, more effectively, or both.
Once your company has defined its specific leadership needs, placing leaders and potential leaders in roles where they have the opportunity to grow is essential. Place them in a temporary role when an existing leader is away, rotate jobs, or have leaders shadow other leaders. All are proven ways to develop their leadership skills.
How to improve an existing leadership development program
Assess your current leaders: To improve your company’s leadership development program, you need to assess your current leaders and find out where their skills are now. Only by knowing your leaders thoroughly will you be able to build on their strengths and shore up weaknesses.
Behavioral assessments can be used for this purpose, lending credence to personal observations—and shedding light on blind spots like individual biases that can be problematic when company leadership evaluates its people.
Develop personal improvement plans: This is a crucial step in developing better leaders, but it must be seen as a positive step and not as negative or punitive. A company culture where constant improvement is expected will help leaders-in-training understand that improvement is just part of the package, and it doesn’t mean they are doing anything wrong.
Set up a mentoring program: Regular meetings with mentors on the senior leadership team can help guide developing leaders in the right direction to meet company needs like accelerating growth and scalability.
Look for leadership potential: Another step toward better leadership development is to look at the leadership potential of all employees, not just the ones identified as leaders. Some will not want to take on leadership positions, but it’s important to recognize the ways that they are leaders in their own right. Encourage them to develop those skills outside a formal leadership position.
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Leaders are not born; they’re made through observation, mentoring, and training. If your company isn’t intentionally working to develop its existing leaders as well as finding and training new ones, it will soon have problems meeting goals and growing in its ability to do things well.
Better planning, assessment, and mentoring will take your company’s leadership development to the next level throughout the remainder of 2019 and beyond. By following an intentional step-by-step process, your company’s leadership development will be supercharged and will have a profound impact on many aspects of company life.
Krishna Rajagopal is the Chief Facilitator of Great Outcomes at Narish International. He has a bachelor’s degree in Economics, an MBA, and a master’s in Information Systems Management. Krishna’s mission is to help organizations leverage their potential.