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Tip of the Week: Developing Leaders

Organizations are currently faced with challenges to identify talented and skilled leaders among their senior executive ranks. Some companies are proactively preparing themselves for these challenges and are increasing their investments in identifying and developing future leaders. But many are feeling overwhelmed and are expressing anxiety and frustration over what they perceive are antiquated talent management principles and tools.

 

Here are five key methods practiced by organizations that are at the forefront of leadership development.

 

  1. Define Leadership Potential 

 

Start with looking for an answer to this simple question: “What is the individual’s long-term career potential and to what extent does he or she appear to possess the drive and capabilities characteristics of a senior leader?”

 

  1. Development Planning

 

Focus development efforts on the one or two competencies that if successfully demonstrated by candidates, would help build confidence in their ability to be successful one or two levels of leadership above their current role.

 

  1. Focus on High-Impact Development Solutions

 

Clearly communicate development objectives to the candidate’s new leader and other managers in the area to ensure that the candidate receives feedback and support, especially in the crucial early months of the assignment. Emphasize the importance of on-the-job forms of development and deploy intensive feedback and coaching that can best achieve significant changes to behavioral/ leadership styles. Executive perspective is usually best addressed through frequent new job experiences.

 

  1. Provide Support and Reinforcement

 

Ensure that a proactive development approach is in place to support people in stretch assignments by providing “transitional” coaching to high-potential candidates and implement on boarding processes to help candidates connect with their new leadership teams. Cross “sink or swim” assignments from your list; they mostly lead to lose-lose, disastrous results.

 

  1. Assess Development and Learning Agility

 

Define performance indicators carefully. For example, the magnitude and pace of change may over time render an executive prior experience obsolete. That is why many companies hold an executive’s learning agility as the single best predictor of leadership potential.