The sustainability of any company depends on finding and developing future leaders.
The first step toward developing effective leaders is to recognize individuals who have the skills to lead. It’s also important to identify people who comprehend the fine details of a company and are capable of applying that knowledge.
A recent survey by Kaplan Professional identified the three main personality traits common to effective leaders: good communication skills, self-motivation and ability to build an effective team. The survey also asked what the biggest challenges were to the internal development of leaders and found commitment to the process, proper training and a lack of interest among employees were the biggest obstacles.
This study confirms there are two crucial components to leadership-succession planning: choosing individuals who have the proper technical abilities and frame of mind, and then supporting them with the training needed to become future leaders.
To begin with, company leaders need a long-term vision for the company, a desire to adapt to a leadership role, capacity to do difficult work and a dedication to the company’s values and objectives.
Identifying potential leaders
Candidates should be assessed to determine if they have the skills needed to follow the example set by current leadership. They should also be able to adapt to the realities of the future, particularly developments that could not be foreseen by current leadership.
Potential future leaders should also be assessed based on their expectations coming into the company and current aspirations. Leadership needs to ensure it is not supporting someone for a leadership position who doesn’t want to advance, or whose real passion is outside the company.
Developing prime candidates
Once leaders feel they can identify the proper people for crucial leadership positions, they must prioritize transparent and regular communication on a smooth transition plan. The “next generation” of company leaders may have different priorities and ideas about how to do business. Therefore, it’s also critical for current and future leaders to discuss the big picture.
Current leaders also have to let go of the impulse to create a “clone army” that takes over for them. There are many benefits to seeing things from a different perspective, including the ability to adapt to unforeseen change.
Above all else, current company leaders should recognize that what made the company successful so far may be ineffective in the near future. Simply put, they should be open to the ideas of the next generation.
Ideally, the transition to the next leadership group does not happen overnight. Instead, next-generation leadership candidates should have years to show their value, grow into the role, and establish themselves as leaders, to both staff members and clients. A proper transition period goes a long way toward a seamless and successful passing of the torch.
At Thompson Technologies, we help our clients find leaders for today and tomorrow. Please contact us to find out how we can support company.