Growing Young Leaders

What is your organization doing to grow younger professionals into leaders of the future? If your firm doesn’t have an initiative to accomplish this, it’s in your best interests to create one. Many reasons support this, but for now, let’s focus on two: succession planning and retention.

Succession planning: As companies grows and become more complex, succession planning becomes increasingly important. Even if the leaders who nurtured the company to its current level are still intact, some day they won’t be. Each department should plan for succession. If you don’t have internal candidates, it’s worthwhile to identify the characteristics of who will be appropriate as successor.

The best internal candidates from your perspective may be the best “doers” of the role, such as the best IT person, the best banker, the best designer. It’s important to know just because those people are great at the “doing” doesn’t mean that they will be great leaders. One of the things you need to determine is whether the person has the leadership characteristics that can be developed to propel the firm forward.

Retention: For up and coming employees who have an interest in the leadership track, this is a great retention strategy. Grooming them for upcoming additional responsibilities is something they will value, adding to their longevity at your company. People value having an opportunity for advancement.

Keep in mind that you can develop them and then they’ll go elsewhere. That’s an inevitability of today’s workplace. But that shouldn’t stop you from identifying and implementing a strategy for future leaders. If they don’t work out as planned, you haven’t lost anything except a little time. In fact, you’ve gained valuable insight for future planning.

Consider how you can implement these ideas about developing young leaders in your company as you enter the planning cycle for FY 2019. The longer-term benefits will enhance the overall organizational value.

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