As the immediate staffing crisis brought on by the pandemic continues, leaders are turning their attention to succession. The Development Dimensions International’s (DDI) Global Leadership Forecast 2021 found that the number one problem for CEOs was developing the next generation of leaders. Current leaders are realizing that if they don’t pass on their skills and knowledge to the next generation, their brilliance dies with their departure.
Here are three practical ways to prepare your next generation of leaders for success.
Be Purposeful With Development
Effective leaders are not developed by accident. It requires a thought-out plan that begins with identifying the strengths and weaknesses of a potential leader. Our personalities determine how we behave as leaders and some are better suited to particular teams or environments than others. As the leader, you know best what skills are needed to carry on the mission and vision of your organization.
Purposeful leadership development requires a clear definition of success. Your entire staff should know your organization's mission, values, and goals at any given season. Having these key drivers front-and-center ensures every person on staff knows their role and goals no matter who’s in charge.
Organizations that used these practices had 1.8 times higher leadership quality and 1.4 times higher leadership success rates.
Provide Feedback to up and Coming Leaders
Feedback is one of the most critical catalysts for growth and change. The next generation of leaders is looking for more feedback than ever before. In fact, 30% of next-gen leaders said they wanted more coaching and feedback than they are currently getting. When feedback is given consistently, organizations are 4.6 times more likely to have high-quality leaders compared to those who don’t.
The up-and-coming leaders in your organization are looking to their managers for validation that they not only have the necessary leadership skills but that they are using them effectively. When you meet with new leaders, be specific about times when you have seen successful use of leadership skills and provide actionable ways they can improve moving forward. Providing feedback consistently will help keep your new leaders focused on the skills that will have the biggest impact on their success.
Develop Empathy for Your Staff
Being an empathetic leader means having the ability to understand the needs of others and being aware of their thoughts and preferences. During the pandemic, leaders’ self-rating of empathy dropped 15%, showing that they struggled to show empathy when they were under stress and their team members needed it the most.
To develop empathy, you need to connect with your team at a human level. Practice asking questions that show a personal interest, not just a professional interest. When in meetings, be fully present by focusing on the other person instead of multi-tasking. Take time to understand how your team contributes to the success of the organization. The best way to accomplish this is by setting up regular 1:1 meetings with your future leaders.
In every industry, leadership bench strength is 10–25% below current capabilities. That gap means that companies will struggle to have ready-now leaders when the economy grows again. Developing new leaders, and finding current leaders with the potential to grow is crucial to future success.
Request a demo to find out how Leadr can provide the tools and organization you need to successfully care for and develop the next generation of leaders.