Building better leaders is an often-seen struggle for many growing organizations. The good news is that the challenges we see with organizations every day can be countered with process, tools and content that drive repeatability and results in your talent programs.
Here are three common leadership development challenges:
1. Hiring and Identifying Leaders
The first step is, of course, making the right hire. While data tells us that personality tests are not an accurate measure of a candidate’s potential, too many sales pros rely on outdated methods and bad metrics to choose the next generation of leaders. Knowing the DNA of your perfect new hire based on both short and long term goals is the first step in building a better team of leaders. Not only does a bad hire cost companies about $50,000 on average, it wastes valuable time and energy that could be better utilized in other areas.
2. Managing for Success
Once you make the hire, managing for success presents another challenge. Effective programs have measurable, transferable assessment processes that can be clearly communicated to staff. Knowing what’s expected of them is critical to your future leaders’ happiness on the job and also crucial for retention. Coaching guides, quarterly assessments, an action plan, and regular team reviews are all strategies best-in-class organizations use to properly illuminate strengths and weaknesses for emerging leaders.
3. Hands-On Mentoring
Mentoring has long been a staple of the development process, but too many organizations take a more hands-off, casual approach to the process. This strategy could be hurting your team’s leadership potential. A full 56% of high-performing companies say that having a “high-touch coaching/mentoring” program is essential to the success of their employees. Peer-to-peer coaching programs as well as extended time with high-level management both seem to be particularly effective at growing and retaining future leaders.
Anticipating Leadership Plateaus
No matter the industry or practice area, leadership plateaus are relatively predictable. Knowing the signs of a leadership breakdown is a good way to prevent derailment at critical stages of the development process. Studies show leaders most often fail because of the following reasons:
1. They’re unwilling to adapt to change
2. They’re afraid to make strategic decisions
3. They don’t cross-collaborate across the organization.
The good news is, you can actively engage leaders in ways that will help them avoid these pitfalls and keep them plugged-in along the way. If you want to develop successful leaders within your organization, you need to own the process. It’s never something that should be delegated or turned over to human resources. The most effective leadership coaching comes from the current organization’s leaders who are hands on in implementing formal development procedures: everything from succession planning to regular talent assessments should be quantified and comparable.