This is our final article in a series of six articles that looks at leadership capacity and its impact on organizational growth. The full series is available to subscribers for download as a white paper from the website.
In our last article, we discussed how to develop your leadership capacity through leadership behaviour assessment. Now we want to examine how to continue the growth of leadership capacity.
While most internal initiatives are well supported at launch, what happens months or even years down the road to maintain momentum and continue the development and growth of leadership capacity in your organization?
To continue the development of leadership capacity and build a culture of leadership, organizations need to have an internal process in place. While some leaders will emerge from the pack naturally, this is not enough and companies need to address their leadership needs by putting their employees in the right position to grow and evolve into company leaders.
The easy part is collecting information; however, truly successful organizations act on the feedback they gather about the state of their leadership. This in itself is high quality leader capacity at work.
High quality feedback helps to create a clear focus and direction for leadership development. With this information companies take the necessary steps to improve on leadership potential and inefficiencies through the development of:
Leadership programs: Leadership programs can help fast track leadership development. Give promising employees the opportunity to develop their leadership skills by developing internal programs or offer them access to externally developed leadership programs.
Companies can also develop monthly leadership training that is led by senior leaders. This would allow for dialogues and relationships to be developed between senior executives and more junior leaders. This can be more informal in nature and be in the form of a lunch meeting.
Mentoring programs: Mentoring programs are a great way to connect today’s leaders with the leader of tomorrow. Assign current leaders to potential leaders and allow them to gain exposure and observe leaders in action by attending meetings and presentations.
This provides insight into the inner workings of the decision making process and protocol used by organizational leaders. Mentoring will give leaders a direct connection and a platform to spread their leadership capacity to others and help develop a culture of leadership.
Coaching programs: Coaching, when done correctly, can be a valuable resource for employees that want to grow into leadership roles. Coaching will help both employees and leaders become aware of areas they need to work on, allow them to discuss difficulties they have, and teach them about how to approach problems, issues, and tasks from a different perspective.
Seminars and skill training: Offer seminars that are focused on developing “must have” leadership characteristics. You will be surprised about how many employees are willing to improve and develop new skills if you provide them with the resources and opportunity to grow.
Develop internal career development plans: Provide opportunities for career development and continuing education that is related to building leadership skills. Consider hosting skill development courses or allow employees to pursue further education by taking professional development courses and attending industry conferences and seminars.
Job rotation/Cross training programs: Programs that provide employees with the opportunity to gain experience in multiple departments and add additional skills and a better appreciation for what is required to execute company initiatives will expand their leadership capacity.
Giving employees the opportunity to experience multiple facets of the organization puts them in a better position to step into a leadership role.
Job Shadowing: Job shadowing offers the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what happens in other areas of the company in a shorter time frame than job rotation or cross training. Allowing employees to observe how leaders and other employees work on a given day will provide them with some insights into what it takes to be in a leadership role within the company.
Internal leadership groups: Internal leadership groups provide a platform where leaders can share ideas and concerns in a confidential manner with their colleagues. This will open the door for new insights and ideas to be develop in regards to creating a more effective leadership group within the company.
We have covered many different aspects of leadership capacity in this article series. There is a commonality between successful organizations and leadership capacity. Successful leaders understand the importance of harnessing leadership talent and taking the time to develop it internally.
Successful leaders see the value of defining a leadership standard, developing organizational culture, implementing leadership initiatives and behaviour, starting coaching and mentoring programs, and allowing both leaders and employees have a voice in developing leadership capacity
The importance of building out your leadership capacity must be one of your company’s prime objectives. And, the leaders that make it a prime objective put their organizations in a position to evolve, be innovative and grow.