Important Tips for Developing Future Leaders

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It’s often easy for companies and their leadership to be so caught up in the day-to-day challenges of running the organization that they overlook long-term planning—and we’re not just talking about annual, 5-year, or even 10-year plans. Even companies that are thinking long term are often thinking long term through the lens of their existing personnel.

The Inevitability of Transition

Whether it’s the founder of a rapidly growing start-up or a long-serving C-suite leader, companies can’t assume their key staff will be around forever. Shifts can be driven by retirement, competitor poaching, or even illness and death.

Eventually, everyone who works for you today will move on, regardless of his or her role or position in the company. That can be a sobering consideration, but it’s a practical one. Even if internal shifts are due to promotions or new assignments internally, these shifts drive the need to fill a position.

Companies that fail to adequately plan for future leadership position openings can find themselves in an unexpected crisis. Hiring externally is always an option, but the ability to promote from within brings the obvious advantage of leaders who have a history with the organization and understand the key responsibilities and functions of different roles within the company.

We spoke to industry experts to combine their insights with our own regarding best practices for identifying, developing, and retaining potential leaders.


Companies may get lucky and find great leadership potential among existing staff, and often, great leaders emerge relatively unexpectedly. But it would be foolish for companies to rely on existing staff alone in their leadership development program.

Instead, the process really needs to start with recruitment. “Companies have traditionally hired for aptitude (reasonable assurance that the person could do the immediate job) and attitude (is there a cultural fit),” says Randy Pennington of the Pennington Performance Group. “The best companies will add an additional criteria—altitude—the reasonable assurance that the individual can grow into the future. This will be especially important for recognizing and grooming young leaders.”

There are five competencies that suggest someone has room for growth in the workplace of the future, says Pennington: curiosity, creativity, collaboration, coachability, and courage. “The successful leaders of the future will have to groom and grow a workplace that thinks, communicates and collaborates differently. Leaders must model the behaviors they seek to develop in others.” […]

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Source: HR Daily Advisor

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