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Whatever the size or the type of industry, a company can only be as successful as its workforce. And setting the tone for this are the leaders of that business. It's not just the success of an organization that is defined by good leadership, but the way the organization functions on a day-to-day basis are all related to 'leadership'. The bottom line is that the importance of developing good leaders in a company cannot be overstated.
However, leaders need to be developed over time as they cannot grow overnight. It does not help to look for a leader when there is a pressing need because by then a lot may already be lost in the overtly competitive corporate world. So, what is it that you, as an HR leader, can do to tackle the situation? How do you develop and nurture leaders right from the beginning?
Here's a look at the simple steps you can follow to groom leaders for the future in your organization:
Step 1: Start early, start right
Since leaders can't be developed in a day, it makes sense to target potential leaders when hiring. This means identifying the right kind of people who have the requisite leadership qualities and who can exercise them when needed. It is a fine business decision to hire people who are a perfect fit for the values, skills and attributes that are key to a leadership role. From a 'Never say die' attitude to an awareness about the mission and values of a company, from an eagerness to undertake responsibilities and challenges, to a desire to learn new things, true leaders require a range of key qualities, and you can make these a key requirement in your screening process.
Step 2: Focus on the 'culture' aspect
Most often, the focus on hiring is based on a candidate's resume alone and tends to overlook the 'cultural' aspect of the company. However, it is essential to see whether or not a person fits into the 'culture' of the company even if he or she has a stellar resume.
For that, you need to be able to define your company's culture. Then you need to think about the aspects of this culture that should be considered while hiring. While you may talk about culture in terms of the vision and mission of the company, the work that is done and so on, employees may look at culture very differently. Culture to them is more about how they feel at work, their sense about their job, their boss and the organization as a whole. In their context, company culture is a very non-technical aspect leaning more towards the emotional side. So while hiring, you have to understand if the potential candidate fits into this 'culture' of the company.
Step 3: Maintain a pipeline of leaders
Once you have hired the right people it's critical to maintain a steady pipeline of leaders and strengthen it from time-to-time to have leaders ready for the future. The process of developing leaders is a continuous exercise and it is essential to have a pipeline always ready for any kind of contingencies that the company might face. You need to identify talent in employees, explore their leadership qualities, and nurture them. The process is, of course, not easy because leadership requires specific skills that involve the vision to make an impact with the company. That makes it even more imperative!
Step 4: Seek the right tools and systems
Hiring people who can be good leaders from existing employees is not an easy task. It requires proper strategic planning by the organization. But in a fast-evolving digital world where employees are constantly connected through digital tools, HR can utilize these platforms to groom future leaders. With a range of Learning Management Systems (LMSs) and Mobile Learning platforms available in the market, you can depend upon these for delivering just-in-time information, and extending performance support to employees whenever and wherever they need (and demand) it. These platforms are known to provide maximum retention for employees, which translates into better performance and grooming. Investing in these tools and cutting-edge technologies for training is money well spent because eLearning and mLearning solutions not only help companies with the management of training activities, but also saves overhead costs which occur in old, manual training methods.
Step 5: Opt for a multi-faceted strategy
You have to ensure that there is a constant and consistent awareness among employees that the organization requires leaders and that they must be developed from within. You can look at promoting an ecosystem that focuses on leadership development by setting up a comprehensive Learning and Development Strategy that includes an assorted mix of IT enabled tools, workshops, exposure to multiple functions, EQ oriented exercises and coaching, and short and long-term training. Prospective leaders find such environments conducive for growth and they also encourage the leader to be ready to take on challenges when the time comes.
It is good to remember that the entry-level employees you just hired may be in charge someday, and that is why it is essential to build a solid bench of future leaders right away. So, hire right to create future-ready leaders.
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