Developing your leadership pipeline is key to the long-term success of your business.
Article authored by Qualigence CEO & founder Steve Lowisz
Unfortunately, building a leadership pipeline often falls by the wayside.
It’s all too easy to get distracted by more pressing needs.
But strong leadership doesn’t happen by accident. Businesses need to have a clear plan for identifying their next best leaders. They also need a plan for preparing emerging leaders to take the next step. Lastly, a leadership succession plan is key.
Here are three actionable ways to develop your leadership pipeline today:
1) Make Leadership Development a Top Priority – Seriously
Leadership development of your current team should be a TOP priority. Businesses should offer leadership development courses to anyone interested.
Guiding people on their leadership journey is anything but easy.
However, the rewards of developing your people has a snowball effect. It’s a total game changer.
It ensures you have strong leadership at EVERY level of the organization. You need leaders beyond the c-suite! Developing your leadership pipeline is bigger than that.
This is very valuable for your team. Strong leadership at the “ground level” of your business is huge. It improves morale, culture, performance, etc.
Additionally, it gives you more candidates when you have openings at higher levels.
A leader with experience on your team is invaluable. They’re also more loyal since they’ve grown their career with you.
Developing leaders on your team strengthens your employee experience. It shows your employees you truly care about their success.
I am now running five leadership development groups at my company. Why?
Because the effects of my first programs were huge. The results led to amazing growth.
I now spend 25 hours a week developing my team. We’ve largely eliminated turnover. We’ve boosted our customer experience. Morale has improved tremendously. Best of all, it all happened during a nasty recession and global pandemic.
Don’t forget to measure progress. Like with any priority, goals are key. Set goals to identify X number of candidates a month. Another goal could be to train X number of candidates a quarter on leadership.
Remember you get what you measure. Additionally, without a SMART goal, priorities get forgotten.
Your next great leader is probably already on your team. Act accordingly and start giving them the tools to reach their full potential!
2) Develop Your Leadership Pipeline With an Open Mind About Emerging Leaders
Common sense around leadership talent is filled with BS.
What does common sense say about the best leadership candidates? It says to pick high-performers with tenure.
But neither has anything to do with how well someone will lead!
We’ve all seen a high performer get promoted, only to watch them fail. That’s because leadership roles require a totally different skill set.
Likewise, we’ve all seen poor leaders with years of tenure. It’s a common mistake with developing your leadership pipeline.
It’s time to rethink our ideas about emerging leaders. Keep an eye out for high potential employees at every level.
Some of our best leaders stepped up after only a few years on the team. In some cases, they’d only been here a few months!
Leadership talent can come from anywhere. Your next CEO could start at the entry level.
We also need to be wary of our natural bias to pick people like ourselves. Instead, we must use objective tools like the Predictive Index to pick candidates.
It’s about understanding what drives individuals. Additionally, it helps find people with team chemistry. It also helps us understand where a leader will thrive. Last but not least, it shows us where they may need extra support.
Keep an open mind while developing your leadership pipeline.
3) Develop Your Leadership Pipeline With Constructive Feedback at Every Level of Your Business
Most people have a natural desire to succeed in the workplace. They want feedback on their performance. They also want advice on how they can do better.
But leaders often forget to give their teams feedback. This has all sorts of negative effects on your business.
As a team member, it can creates confusion. It becomes hard to know whether we’re on the right track. And without feedback, it’s hard to improve.
We must remember feedback is an opportunity to grow our people. Constructive feedback should be an key part of your culture.
Every leader should understand the importance of feedback. In fact, encourage team members to offer feedback to peers.
People can be afraid that feedback will hurt others’ feelings. It’s awkward to point out someone’s faults. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it.
In reality, feedback is a way of showing someone we believe in them. It shows we want them to reach their full potential. It’s also key to developing your leadership pipeline!
Without criticism, your next best leader can’t grow. One piece of criticism could be the start of someone’s leadership journey.
Developing Your Leadership Pipeline is the Future of Your Team
The long-term health of your business comes down to your leadership pipeline. Leadership is a journey, and it doesn’t happen accidentally or overnight. Developing your leadership pipeline isn’t easy but it pays off.