Many business owners still believe their Human Resources (HR) department is primarily responsible for developing their organization’s future leaders. However, the longer these business owners keep this limited mindset, the further behind their organizations become. You see, this crucial activity is not primarily HR’s responsibility, it’s ours – the business owners – and that scares the heck out of most business owners.
So, as business owners, if developing our organization’s future leaders is our responsibility, how do we do it? How do we train and develop others to take over for us when we’re not trainers, teachers, or magicians? To do it well, we need to take three major steps:
- We must believe in the urgency and necessity of leadership development ourselves or no other managers or employees will.
- We need to create a clear vision and implementation plan for our organization that helps our employees see what our organizations will look like in the future and what its future leaders need to be prepared to do.
- We establish an organization that provides development opportunities for all employees, not just a select few.
How will these three steps work? By becoming personally involved and focused on the development of our business’ future leaders, we not only demonstrate our belief in this by our actions, but more importantly, we also take an active role in determining what skills, projects, and responsibilities need to be developed in, provided to, or given to the up-and-comers within our businesses.
Next, if created properly, the vision we have for our company will by default touch every department. Therefore, every department must do something to help attain the vision. If our vision is far-reaching and forward-thinking, every department will be tasked to assert its skills, talents, and energies to new levels to help us reach the vision. When each department starts to understand and plan what it needs to do to help attain the vision, by default, each department also addresses staffing, leadership, employee training, project management, and other leadership development and planning issues. We’ve now set the foundation to have HR work in tandem with every department to develop depth as well as management and employee skills – organization-wide.
Finally, instead of focusing on only a few, select individuals, we create a culture where every employee has the potential to be a candidate for promotion or future openings. Why would we put all of our hopes and resources into just one or two candidates when they may leave or not develop the skills needed? Why risk demoralizing other solid staff by focusing only on a select few? Why not create an organization where all employees are not only expected but are given the chance to constantly develop new skills, talent, and leadership potential?
When we do this, we create training opportunities that require our employees to do hands-on problem solving, project management, and most importantly: to think for themselves. We create cross-training and mentoring opportunities so our employees learn more about the organization and to learn from each other. And finally, we create an organization where every manager understands that developing others is more important than getting product out the door. If we don’t constantly focus on developing our employees, we won’t be able to keep getting product out the door. Our people drive our businesses.
What do you need to do to develop your business’ future leaders?
Copyright MMVI – Liz Weber, CMC, CSP – Weber Business Services, LLC – www.WBSLLC.com +1.717.597.8890
Liz supports clients with strategic and succession planning, as well as leadership training and executive coaching. Learn more about Liz on LinkedIn!