Published: June 24, 2021
SUMMARY: Nurturing the leadership skills of our colleagues makes it significantly easier for us to collectively build an extraordinarily productive, humane and resilient company. This article details ways to identify and support our rising leaders, including clarity, communication, culture, coaching and recognition.
Ah, leadership. What a meaty topic.
One of the great, unresolved debates is: Are leaders “born leaders” or are they developed?
To begin with, even the definition of leadership is up for debate.
So what’s a leader?
Leaders are simply people that other people follow because they trust that the person has:
At Ninety, we believe leaders rise to the occasion, and it’s silly to try to pretend one can simply “spot” who is a leader and who is not, that is, without experiencing them in action. Fact is, we’ll never know until we see a leader successfully leading.
Candidates for future organizational leadership can emerge from all employment levels: support staff, front-line workers, supervisors, executives, even CEO’s and members of the board. Once identified, leadership development often entails collaborative activities that help them expand their insights, abilities (aka competencies) and confidence.
An often-cited 2019 report by Gap International indicates the majority of company executives surveyed consider nurturing leadership skills in employees and wanting them to succeed, very important for their organizations’ success. However, in a striking contradiction, less than half believed their current employees could become good performers and consequently they didn’t want to invest in any form of leadership development. Ugh.
Despite of this disconnect, it’s well known that thoughtful leadership development processes make it significantly easier for people to discover their personal leadership style, elevate their coaching abilities, extend their knowledge of the company’s overall value creation process and champion their organization’s culture and vision. All of this helps both the employee and the company.
So, once identified, how do we encourage emerging leaders? Here are five powerful ways to support leadership development in our companies.
1. Show a Clear Path and Timeline for Leadership Development
Emerging leaders prioritize their career development. Companies that provide employees with a clear understanding of the leadership opportunities, including the steps necessary to advance and the time required to reach their professional goals, will not only attract great leadership talent but also retain great leaders.
2. Facilitate Feedback
One of the ways to engage emerging leaders is to give them continuous feedback on all levels. They are more likely to stay motivated and productive when they know that you want them to grow with the company and that their growth is important to you. Give them opportunities to take courses that are relevant to industry leadership, to introduce their own ideas as solutions and to offer their opinions as valued input in company discussions.
3. Take a Coaching Approach
Emerging leaders need inspiring and knowledgeable coaches at every level. Leadership development through coaching and mentoring takes off where training ends, focusing on potential and performance more than standards and compliance, allowing people to elevate their thinking. Being the coach and being coached creates a culture where shared knowledge and feedback can make a real impact.
4. Let Personal Betterment Be Part of Your Culture
If you’re scouting leadership talent from all backgrounds and at every level, supporting their proactive commitment to personal betterment is essential. Online resources, conferences, membership in professional associations, internships, leadership development programs, support networks, periodicals and other publications — utilizing a variety of tools to engage emerging leaders at various stages in their development will demonstrate how your company values it.
5. Consider Leaders with an Eye for Greatness
Leaders lead. They don’t need to be a “manager” to show leadership abilities. We’ll see them helping our colleagues. We’ll see them helping others, their teams, the department and the company grow. It’s smart to reward and encourage those moments where we see emerging leaders lead. They'll appreciate it when we publicly praise valued behaviors and actions and, it’s highly likely they’ll be delighted when we promote them.
Attracting and retaining emerging leaders is not going to get easier in this New Age of WorkTM. At the risk of stating the obvious, Work from AnywhereTM is going to make it easier for people to find their version of a great Workplace. The best Workplaces support continuous growth, recognize the above-and-beyond-contributions, and create an environment where developmental opportunities happen organically and become part of the culture. It’s wise to not only demonstrate that we support individualized leadership development opportunities but to make it Almost EasyTM for our people to help us build extraordinarily productive, humane and resilient companies.
How Ninety Helps
Ninety’s integrated business building and awareness tools make it Almost Easy for you to not only identify and develop emerging leaders but create a healthy, functional and cohesive leadership team. For instance, you can:
Ninety’s tools create a clear way for leaders to see specific roles and responsibilities and how they are measured:
Be Extraordinarily Productive, Humane and Resilient
We know you have many choices of products to help you build a great company. At Ninety.io, our passion is providing small and midsized companies with core business building and awareness tools to help them become extraordinarily more productive, humane, and resilient.
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