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Developing Your Future Leaders: It’s Your Responsibility

Developing Your Future Leaders: It's Your Responsibility

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:

  1. We must believe in the urgency and necessity of leadership development ourselves or no other managers or employees will.
  2. 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.
  3. We establish an organization that provides development opportunities for all employees, not just a select few.

Developing Your Future Leaders: It's Your ResponsibilityHow 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!



Liz Weber CMCLiz Weber, CMC CSP

Liz Weber coaches, consults, and trains leadership teams. She specializes in strategic and succession planning, and leadership development.

Liz is one of fewer than 100 people in the U.S. to hold both the Certified Management Consultant (CMC) and Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) designations.

Contact Liz’s office at +1.717.597.8890 for more info on how Liz can help you, or click here to have Liz’s office contact you.


Copyright © Weber Business Services, LLC All rights reserved.


9 thoughts on “Developing Your Future Leaders: It’s Your Responsibility”

  1. Stacy Voss says:

    Liz, thanks so much for sharing this! I’m excited to read more of your posts and learn even more from you!

    1. Hi Stacy -Thanks for taking the time to comment and I look forward to interacting with you on future posts!

  2. John Vasquez says:

    Very good article and I agree with everything except the opening comment. In my experience with private and public sector businesses, I have found that business owners look to HR to assist the owner in designing programs or obtaining the resources to help employees grow into leadership roles. I’m not saying some owners still don’t it’s their responsibility, I just don’t think it’s as prevalent today as it was. I really enjoyed the article! Developing ALL employees in a company is rare. It’s our human nature to seek out those we like the best and mentor them, leaving the others (and often more qualified) to fend for themselves.

    1. Thanks John! Yes attitudes are changing, but they’re still out there. So much more of a tidal wave effect can occur when everyone gets opportunities to learn, grow, and be part of the overall development initiatives. If leadership/owners can keep that in mind, HR is much better positioned to orchestrate it!

  3. A very nice post Liz.

    One underlying problem that I see is that middle management is, often times, not properly trained to learn how to grow their direct reports. Further, this layer in the workplace also needs to be groomed for understanding the importance of training and advancement for themselves, so there is opportunity for improvement in this area, as well.

    IMHO, I also, believe that everyone needs to take responsibility for his/her own learning. If someone has a career goal in mind and needs help to map out the plan, help should be sought. If additional skills training is needed to increase productivity, people should step forward and seek out the people who can help them to get the proper assistance. Too often, employees will rely on the employer to decide their career fate rather than take matters into their own hands. The very fact that someone steps up proactively for what he/she wants in the workplace is in itself a sign of determination and control over his/her career. If met with resistance, then that is also telling and a sign that the employee may potentially need to find the answers with a different employer.

    1. Beautifully stated Cyndy. I completely agree with HO insight. I too am a firm believer in personal responsibility and accountability. Don’t wait for someone else to open doors for you; open them yourself! Thanks for commenting Cyndy.

  4. Lottie says:

    Hi Liz, as an employee, I can relate with your article. For me, its really important for us to be positively motivated, having the feeling that our employers are concern about us and our future. It simply boosts our morale and makes us want to do more for our company’s growth and interest.

    1. Thanks for commenting Lottie!

  5. Terrific article. It really comes down to the difference between being a manager and a leader. Successful owners invariably are great leaders, who inspire and motivate others to get more involved. They are the pulse of the business or organization. They lead by example, and never simply delegate without oversight.

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Posted by Liz Weber CMC on May 8, 2012 in Leadership Development and tagged , , , ,