Develop Aspiring Leaders
If you’ve identified your aspiring leaders, the next step is to begin coaching them towards leadership. How will you develop current aspiring leaders to be future leaders of your organization? What leadership skills do they already have, and which leadership skills will need further developing? Is there an established leadership development program at your organization? Developing new leaders and succession planning helps the organization stay agile and prepared.
Plan for Your Organization's Future
Aspiring leaders are people that want to be developed; they are continuous learners. They thrive from an environment with opportunities to learn, grow, and improve their leadership skills. As a current leader in the organization, think about what the future needs of the organization may be. How can you prepare new leaders for future leadership positions? To retain your most talented employees, and create a consistent and reliable culture of leadership, we coach them on the leadership skills that need improvement. A leadership development program can make succession planning at your organization simple.
Many new leaders are high performers, excelling in their current roles, yet haven’t experienced training in core leadership skills, or “soft skills,” such as:
- Communication including leader check ins
- Strategies for cascading communication
- Use of key words at key times
- Results rollout process for surveys and other data
- Reward and recognition practices
- Performance conversations and difficult conversations
- Stopping we/they behavior
- Goal setting – SMART goals and developing measurable annual goals
- Short Cycle Action Planning
- Behavior-based interviewing
- 30 and 90 day conversations for new employees
To support new leaders in these areas, some organizations choose to create a leadership development program to support succession planning. A formal process can be put in place for developing leaders, that may include leadership development retreats and different learning tools. Some organizations keep the process more informal using mentors and regular one on one conversations to develop their new leaders.
When creating a professional development plan, it’s especially important to get the aspiring leaders involved in problem solving and decision making that current leaders are experiencing. By partnering aspiring leaders with current leaders, real-life experiences can be used for new leaders to practice and study. Being exposed to those aspects of leadership help the aspiring leader develop leadership skills they would be otherwise unable to see.
6 Steps to Develop Aspiring Leaders
Recognize Who Your Aspiring Leaders Are
- Who is committed to the organization’s success, living out the organization’s values, and has the desire to lead and inspire others?
Determine Which Skills are Needed for New Leaders to be Successful
- Examples include “soft” skills such as relationship building, communication, reward and recognition, and how to have performance conversations.
- Other leadership skills include: goal setting, how to rollout survey data, behavioral based interviewing and developing measurable annual goals.
Create a Professional Development Plan
- This should be a clear, personal document including goals, objectives, activities, resources, criteria for completion, and a timeline.
- Design the plan so that the individual can work the development plan into their everyday routine.
Assign a Coach or Mentor
- A mentor helps to guide those who seek to further themselves in their career and life by sharing their knowledge and competencies.
- If you have a new leader development program in place, “graduates” can become the next aspiring leader mentors.
- Suppose a new leader is faced with a difficult situation and they fear asking their boss for help or feedback, a mentor is the ideal go-to for this new leader.
Expose to Aspects of Leadership
- Including: Building Relationships & Communication, Talent Management, and Continuous Improvement.
- Using case studies and real-life scenarios, let the new leader practice role-playing leadership situations. If you’re this person’s leader or mentor, for example, the next time you are faced with decision to make or a problem to solve, bring that scenario to your new leader. Give them a time frame to think the situation through and provide you with their solution. Then you can discuss what you like about their approach and how to improve it.
Monitor Development and Provide Feedback
- Using the professional development plan created for each individual, continue to meet with your new leader and discuss the progress made and what areas still need to be improved.
- When providing feedback, be as specific as possible.