Six strategies to develop strong leaders
Natural born leaders are rare and too many executives are promoted on the strength of good technical performance without consideration for their ability to lead people. Organisations that have identified potential leadership candidates need to put in place strategies to develop them into strong leaders, according to Qualtrics.
Qualtrics has identified six key strategies for developing potential leaders:
1. Set challenges
Giving a challenging project or problem to someone with leadership potential is an ideal way to start the ball rolling for his or her development. It gives a potential leader the space to understand how to approach challenges, who can help, how to get assistance, and that they should consider different strategies before acting.
2. Rotate roles
Rotate potential leaders into a different department or job function. This gives them hands-on experience to understand how different parts of the business work. Broader experience helps leaders better understand how they can support all areas of the business.
3. Facilitate mentorship and coaching
Mentors can share experience, skills, knowledge, a listening ear, suggestions, and resources with potential leaders. Mentorships are a nurturing, supportive, and effective way to develop leaders. Coaches can observe and assess potential leaders’ fundamental leadership skills and create plans to help them improve.
4. Provide education opportunities
While learning on-the-job is the most effective way to develop leadership skills, organisations may want to consider professional development and training, such as funding higher education, to give high-potentials a strong foundation in leadership theory and practice.
5. Encourage self-evaluation
Organisations should encourage leaders to continuously evaluate their performance. Leaders that understand their strengths and weaknesses can map out strategies to improve and grow.
6. Listen and ask questions
It is important that businesses listen to leadership candidates’ thoughts, concerns, and feedback as it can help guide how the business chooses to develop individual leaders. Asking them questions about their progress can also help them to think more strategically or outside their comfort level.
Bill McMurray, Managing Director, Asia Pacific and Japan, Qualtrics, said: “An essential part of developing leaders is to offer them the opportunity to participate in a 360-degree employee feedback program. These 360 programs provide the individual with feedback on their strengths and weaknesses from a variety of sources – managers, peers, direct reports, and external evaluators.”
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