How to Identify and Train Your Company Leaders

12/13/2021

Behind every successful company is a team of efficient leaders making good decisions. But where do you find these leaders? Are they born that way, or are leadership qualities learned? Is leadership nature or nurture?

Identifying high-potential employees and nourishing their capabilities is an essential part of growing a healthy work culture and encouraging retention. Developing your people helps them grow, which benefits them as well as your organization. Yet, many companies still don’t know how to go about it.

Could your future leaders be sitting right under your nose, but you don’t know how to identify them? We will help you understand the importance of a good leader, how to identify them, and further polish their talents.

Where Have the Leaders Gone?

Leadership comes in many different forms, not just the senior leadership that come to mind. Employee resumes are stacked with leadership mentions, and job postings often emphasize leadership qualities in job seekers.  Yet, many companies lack true leaders, and others have difficulty identifying what authentic leadership means. This makes it hard to build new leaders.

According to recent research, 77% of companies are experiencing a profound leadership gap in which employees feel ill-equipped to step into leadership positions.

There are a few reasons for the lack of leaders. For instance, millennials are increasingly frustrated that their employers aren’t fully developing their skills. They’re often leaving jobs within two years to find employers who offer professional development and leadership training. Related to this, the “Great Resignation” – a movement of millennials and gen-X employees who are quitting their jobs to pursue more personally rewarding roles – is pulling more and more natural leaders who could fill these gaps out of the workforce. Ignored contributions, inadequate benefits (including very little training to enhance business skills), and not being supported by their employers top the list of complaints.

What Makes a Leader

Leaders should inspire trust, make solid decisions, and help their organization succeed. But if you drill down to what qualities support these skills, outstanding leadership is difficult to quantify because the definition changes depending on the company, goals, environment, and team. In other words, many factors make a great leader.  

Compassion

Some think that a leader is only the captain of the ship who leads from the front, but that’s only partially true. A leader is also a team member who should know how to leverage their teammate's best qualities to move forward. Empathy and compassion are critical in good leaders to help them truly understand those with whom they’re working.

Observe their speech and actions to make sure that they are able to see and understand different perspectives and motivations. A true leader will acknowledge different opinions and create a common ground within the group. 

Flexibility

The corporate world is all about adjusting to the unseen and developing the skill of pivoting quickly. You can plan, but you can never predict what is going to meet you on the next turn. Adaptability and flexibility are key components of leadership. When your leaders can adapt quickly, they’re more likely to encourage employees to do the same.

Mental Strength

Short deadlines, complex demands from clients, unexpected outcomes, and glitches in the workflow – there are many complex and high-stress situations that can take place at any time within an organization. Only a true leader can give a sense of clarity and security at such points.

There are three parts to mental strength: identifying small issues before they become problems, formulating solutions, and sharing the solutions in a calm, even-tempered way.

How to Develop Leaders

Identifying leaders is the first step. While giving your new leaders more responsibilities or a team to work with is part of the equation, this part is nothing without actively building their leadership skills. A recent study shows that participants who experienced leadership training improved their learning capability by 25% and their performance by 20%.

Training your employees and potential leaders to upskill and support them is the best way to help develop their leadership qualities. We’ve worked with hundreds of companies on leadership development and here’s what’s worked for their teams.

Whether through virtual instructor-led training or in-person workshop, bringing a group of potential leaders together builds camaraderie and allows the company to demonstrate necessary qualities in a person. When you group leaders within a training session, they can lean into one another when problems arise long after the initial training has ended.

Interactive Training

Using quizzes, evaluations to determine leadership styles, and interactive presentations gives your team a hands-on way to learn and retain the skills they need. Assessments specifically can help them identify strengths and weaknesses in their own leadership skills.

Video

One of the most powerful uses of video is showing what to do and what not to do in a leadership scenario. Unfortunately, too many young leaders have only ineffective examples or leadership in their lives. Creating videos that show the right and wrong way to handle a situation can give your leaders a new perspective on communication. 

Microlearning

Like all training, leadership can fall victim to the forgetting curve, especially when real-world scenarios pop up. Microlearning sessions that are easily accessed on demand will help guide them on the best ways to handle problems while reinforcing the skills they learned during initial training.

 

Identifying leaders and developing their skills takes time and money, but your future leaders are depending on it to fill the leadership gap and enjoy productive successful careers. Leadership training is an investment in your company.

 

Learn how Pfizer closed the skills gap in their organization with career paths and professional development for their

upcoming leaders.

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