Being in a leadership position in any organisation brings a high level of responsibility and duties you need to take charge of. However, there is one area that research has shown often falls by the wayside and gets forgotten about; developing future leaders. A report by The Bridgespan Group found that two-thirds of the 900 surveyed leaders disagreed with the following statement: ‘our organization is highly effective in developing a strong internal and external pipeline of future leaders’ and one of the biggest reasons for this is the behaviour of organisation’s leaders towards training. Mark Athitakis who wrote for Associations Now adds to this saying, “much of this simply has to do with institutional drift —a sense that CEO transitions need to happen at some point, but not just yet.”
As a manager, you need to recognise and appreciate the need for training. The report by The Bridgespan Group proposes an approach that is a ‘proactive and systematic investment in building a pipeline of leaders within an organization’. The key steps to follow to manage this are:
- Engagement of senior leaders – this may include yourself, as well as those who manage you and involves signalling the importance of leadership development, setting expectations from the offset and putting the process in motion.
- Map out a vision of the future leadership team – you need to assess the future leadership capabilities which are required to meet your business strategy, assess which employees have the potential to lead and put the plan in place to develop these employees.
- Training that develops future leaders effectively – the most effective types of training are discussed a little later in this blog post, but it is important to assess which specific areas each employee needs a training focus on.
- Recruitment to ‘fill the gaps’ – if you notice any gaps in what you require from future leaders and what can be developed within your existing employees, then look to external hiring. Make sure that there is a well-planned out onboarding process for these new hires! If you wish to learn more about the onboarding process, then check out our white paper here – ‘A recipe for successful onboarding’.
- Monitor the development – make sure you assess and analyse whether the training and work you are undertaking is progressing your employees, team and whole organisation towards your goals and readjust anything that is not working.
However, as well as making and following this plan, you need to take into account the best way to deliver training! Training needs to be implemented so that it can effectively intertwine with your daily work; providing you with skills, knowledge and practices which efficiently provide value and effectively link to your daily work. The old ‘chalk and talk’, ‘death by powerpoint’ style of training is no longer effective and there is a shift towards a more collaborative learning experience. Being able to apply new knowledge and practices there and then in the training is hugely beneficial. At Hemsley Fraser we have developed our very own Next Generation Classrooms which create the ultimate, inspirational environment and experience for absorbing and retaining information. Check out the video of our Next Generation Classrooms here!
Ray Carvey, Executive Vice President of Corporate Learning at Harvard Business Publishing was interviewed by Forbes earlier this year and supported this need to take leadership training a step further. In his interview he focuses on some key aspects that leadership training needs to possess:
- Creating a context around the training and how these skills can be utilised at work for leadership development
- Further to this, making sure the context fits the needs of that specific organisation. As Ray rightly comments ‘getting it right in the context of your organization’s needs is what makes it relevant, meaningful and “sticky.”’ – there should be no ‘one size fits all’ approach!
- Training that delivers engaging, interactive experiences – investigate what motivates and inspires those in your team
Taking the first step to put the wheels in motion of developing future leaders is always tricky as you have to work out the best method to match your organisation’s strategy and needs. However, making sure you truly know your employees; their strengths, weaknesses and career goals will really help so you can make the best judgement on which employees to develop and how.
Hemsley Fraser has been recognised for five consecutive years as one of the top 20 leadership training companies by TrainingIndustry.com. Take a look at our full range of Management & Leadership courses here!