Leadership development should be high on the list of priorities for businesses of all sizes and shapes. It goes without saying that strong leaders have a significant influence on the success of any organization. However, for the success to be long-lasting, organizations need to invest in their current workforce to develop expertise and prepare tomorrow’s leaders. But with the youngest of the baby boomers nearing their retirement age, the bugging question is whether organizations are doing enough of the right type to prepare the future generation of leaders.
Unlike the older generations, millennials come with extremely different sets of expectations and are more aggressive with career development. This has made it difficult to engage them, offer them the experience they deserve, and manage to retain them in your organization. Since the new generation of leaders will be expected to lead in a more global, more sophisticated, and more interconnected workspace, organizations need to change tact and employ more relative leadership development approaches.
With the significant impact that the new generation is having on the current workplace, investing in leadership development has become essential. Organizations should consider going beyond the typical process of expanding and enhancing internal leadership programs by incorporating more contemporary strategies and technologies. These include things linking aspiring leaders with challenging projects, rotating employees between departments, or providing mentorship, and consider business simulations for leadership development among others.
Ways to Develop Tomorrow’s Leaders
Mentorship and Coaching
The new generation leaders want to be coached at work. Most of them don’t want to be guided in a managerial direction, per see, but more on their personal development. Organizations must provide aspiring leaders with a place where they can find mentors and coaches for guidance, advice, and professional-level support. You can choose mentors and coaches from your current leaders, retired executives, or ask any other relevant professionals.
An excellent coach understands that millennials consider positive reinforcement as an important coaching channel. Therefore, they are ready to meet aspiring leaders halfway in order to create a winning team. A structured coaching or mentorship program is essential as it helps you track progress and determine the specifics of the relationship.
Provide Wider Business Scope and Exposure
One thing that can help shape future leaders is exposure. Let your prospective leaders understand and fully appreciate all the intricacies and aspects of your business, besides what they know from their current department. Push and encourage aspiring leaders to get an in-depth understanding of your industry. They should also follow trends that indicate the direction the organization is likely to take in the future. You can also team up prospective leaders with senior leaders so that they can learn one or two things about what it takes to be in a senior leadership role.
Any future business manager ought to understand all aspects of the business in the most exquisite details if they want to become decision-makers and shape the enterprise in the future. So, if you already identified and hired a potential leader, make sure you expose them to all corners of the business. Don’t forget to encourage them to delve deep into the core aspects that make your enterprise stand tall in a particular industry.
Offer Real Business Challenges
Giving aspiring leaders real business responsibilities is an excellent way to determine if they’ve got the wit and zeal of a leader. With an understanding that whatever they are doing directly correlates to the success of the company, they are likely to push their buttons and stretch in an attempt to deliver exceptional results.
This can help uncover hidden capabilities and strengths. It will also help develop their creativity and critical thinking skill when faced with an unfamiliar task in the future. Tackling challenging projects and learning new skills will bolster their confidence, as well as enhance their commitment to your organization.
Weave a High-performance Culture
The workplace culture is shifting from a top-down management model to a flat organizational structure where leaders can impact change across the business. Technology and social media have made it possible for enterprises to conduct business across the globe, as well as influenced personal brands and leadership. This change in demographics has led to the rise of individual needs, aspirations, and expectations, which have made the workplace complex and chaotic.
For organizations to develop future leaders that will spur long-term success, they will have to respond to these challenges right now. Top leaders in an organization need to set an example for future leaders by creating collaborative, inclusive, and delightful organizational cultures. Showing authentic interest to employee’s welfare, treating everyone with respect, showing value by inviting opinions, and nurturing productive relationships are just but a few things that can inspire others. If aspiring leaders were to replicate what high-performance leaders in an organization showed them, they would undoubtedly create sustainable long-term business goals, even amidst the changing demographics.
Provide Your Future Leaders with Constructive Feedback
If you want your leadership development program to flourish, make sure you give your future leaders feedback. After challenging them with real business responsibilities, make sure you let them know how they performed. Give them praise for areas they performed exemplary and offer some advice or words of encouragement in sections you feel they need to work on.
Although a face-to-face meeting would be ideal, you can provide feedback electronically, via telephone, or video chat. Aspiring leaders will be eager to know how they performed and understand the steps they need to take for further development. Giving feedback to your future leaders shows them that you are interested in their development. It also permits them to ask questions and get the right support. When you make millennials feel connected and heard, they are more likely to be loyal.
Utilize State-of-the-Art Business Training Simulations for Leadership Development
Some of the most successful global companies utilize business training simulations for leadership development. By doing so, tomorrow’s leaders live a day in the leadership shoes in a safe and learning encouraged environment. Using a business simulation within leadership development give participants the ability to practice business acumen, strategic thinking, leadership behavior, teamwork, collaboration, and a lot more. Best of all, leadership development simulations are far less expensive than years past and thus more accessible to more companies. Also, today’s learners love it! It’s engaging, applicable, exciting, and challenging. It’s a leadership development educational blast.
Now that you have a detailed concept of how to develop tomorrow’s leaders, it is up to you to take up the mantle and implement it in your business. However, it would be best if you understood that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to developing these leaders. You should consider your organization’s objectives, talent preference, and career objectives to create the right strategy.
Additionally, as a leader, you should remember that all employees look up to you. Therefore, you should set a good example by reviewing your approach from time to time. Always seek to be the role model that everyone envies.