Your company has a strategic plan and marketing plan right? What about a leadership development plan? A common response we hear to this question is "we don't have that many people in the company, let alone leaders so why do we need a leadership development plan.” Let’s stop and think about that! Something that high performing companies have in common is great leadership. This is the X Factor that allows them to outperform their competitors.
It has been said that the quality of leadership, more than any other single factor, determines the success or failure of an organization. Your company may not be a Fortune 500 organization, but that doesn't mean you can put your leadership development on autopilot. During the current COVID environment, it can be tempting to focus on the short term of crisis management. This type of decision making may be short-sighted. When we come back, business owners are going to need their best people to get back on their feet.
Here are a few simple things you can do to create a leadership program to get started:
1. Identify a leadership profile of leadership traits that successful leaders need in your company. Discussing and agreeing on the top 5-7 traits needed for successful leaders in your company's environment and working toward that can bring significant changes.
2. Once you identify the traits, use that profile to hire your leaders and use this profile to promote people who have these character qualities. If you promote people that don't fit the profile then your company will not have proper leadership. If an NFL football team needs a good backup quarterback, they wouldn't draft a great linebacker for the role just because they are athletic - would they? The same principle works for your leadership development process.
3. Look for ways to grow and develop your leaders constantly. It can be as simple as having your leaders read the same article on leadership and discussing it or buying everyone a good leadership book and spending time discussing what each person learned or found insightful in the book.
A solid leadership development program will:
- Include others into the process, feedback providers, managers, leadership mentors who can be role models
- Have clear expectations of behavioral change and help people learn how to change their habits/create new habits (personal change)
- Have real metrics of measurement of change over the course of the process
- Accurately identify any significant leadership problems and focus on mission-critical leadership strengths
- Allows opportunities for gaining insights from reflection and coaching
This article originally appeared in an HR Catalyst blog on July 21, 2020.