The greatest strength of an organization is its people and their skills. But hiring the best is not enough, it is equally important to retain and nurture talent through leadership development programs, to ensure long-term success.
McKinsey’s The State of Organizations 2023 report talks about organizational shifts that businesses are dealing with today, and the gaps that they face. According to the report, “Only 5% of organizations say their companies already have the capabilities that they need.”
Additionally, “In many organizations, between 20% and 30% of critical roles aren’t filled by the most appropriate people.” So business leaders need to focus on matching top talent to the highest-value roles.
This is where developing leadership skills in high-performing managers and employees, through customized, rigorous leadership development programs, will prove useful for long-term growth.
Create a Culture of Leadership
To tap into high-performing talent, organizations must first create an environment where talent can showcase their true potential. Empower managers to make decisions, prioritize a growth mindset, encourage empathetic and collaborative behaviors, and above all, value new–age leadership skills.
“The outdated view of leadership, prioritizing authority and expertise, puts only those who seem to have all the answers to lead large teams and portfolios. But expectations from leaders are changing, and we now also look for qualities, such as communication skills, empathy, and the ability to motivate and inspire others, in our leaders,” says Sonal Bhimani, Sr. Director – Global Talent and Transformation, Cognizant.
Adetoun Popoola, General Manager, Lagos State Parks and Gardens Agency adds to this. “Organizations must nurture and encourage a culture of failing forward. Employees must be trained to lead whenever circumstances require them to do so. For this, employees must be exposed and empowered to take ownership of their work.”
Bespoke for the Best: Customizing Leadership Development Programs
Most organizations have some training frameworks in place focused on skill-building. But, for the challenge-seeking high-performing individuals, it is important to create and offer personalized leadership development programs and paths aligned to their long-term career goals, recognizing their unique strengths and weaknesses and giving robust feedback on performance.
These training paths must challenge them, push the boundaries of their potential, and instill rigor in their work. This will help in seeing who has the drive quotient required for the long run. One way is to create multi-disciplinary rotation programs for employees, allowing them to participate in various business functions and geographies to help them in their leadership journey.
Learning: A Key Component of Developing Leadership Development Skills
“Leadership for me is a lifelong journey of learning about the self, others, and the context. The focus of leadership development should be on how this tripod interacts and how to optimize the interaction for better outcomes,” says Adediran Adebanjo, Head of Direct-to-Consumer Marketing, British American Tobacco (BAT) in Sub-Saharan Africa.
High-octane performers thrive in a culture of learning, and this also helps identify top talent better. This is the happy opposite of a vicious circle, and HR leaders must put individual, team, departmental, and organizational learning at the forefront.
Giving access to self-paced, flexible learning modules, making learning a metric of work performance, facilitating group learning, and building libraries of resources for both soft skills and technical skills development, are among the few initiatives that organizations can include in their leadership development programs with relative ease.
Making it Count: Mentorship
Training programs and learning can take you only so far; it is the hands-on experience and exposure that high-performing individuals truly value and benefit from as they prepare for leadership roles, and that leadership development programs should focus on providing these experiences.
Matching these performers with the right mentors is an incredibly important part of the development process. Mentors can guide through lived experiences, give a more nuanced understanding of the organizational and behavioral skills needed, and the nature and scale of responsibilities that come with leadership roles. Seeing a leader at work is the ultimate inspiration for leaders of tomorrow.
Create New Avenues With Networking
Communication skills are at the heart of new–age leadership. Thus, enabling high-performance employees to network with organization and industry-wide peers, juniors, and seniors is essential to leadership. They must get a chance to attend seminars, corporate talks, and other such gatherings.
To network and build relationships, any individual must observe, analyze, and learn from peers, from the competition, and from the industry at large. It takes years of practice to navigate the world; by weaving networking into a leadership development program, high-performance employees have time to learn and master this art.
Leading With Emeritus
Like people, organizations too cannot be certain of the future. The need to train talent who can face a world with fast-moving advanced technology. According to The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Report 2023, 60% of workers will require additional training by 2027.
Organizations will have to harness AI, and help close gaps by building complimentary skills, such as analytical thinking, will help retain employees and fill gaps that will be created by the changing organizational orders.
Well-planned leadership and management development, through leadership development programs like those offered by Emeritus Enterprise, will play a key role. They empower high performing talent at all levels, prepare them for greater responsibility, teach them skills like negotiation, and build a robust leadership pipeline for the organization that will be ready for whatever comes their way.
Is your company seeking an enterprise learning solution provider that offers customizable learning pathways and a track record of success across all types of organizations? Emeritus partners with leading global universities to deliver employee training programs designed to maximize engagement.
By Prakruti Maniar