Developing Leaders within the Ranks: Four Approaches

Situation: As they have grown, the Company has used Bay Area talent to seed new locations around the country. Leadership is now short at headquarters. What have others done to fill leadership gaps?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Develop a formal Leadership Development Program.
    • Identify the top leadership candidates with the company – the top 10%.
    • Identify their individual goals and determine whether these are consistent with company values.
    • Clearly communicate the roles and expectations that you have for future company leaders – both the upsides and the sacrifices that you anticipate that they will have to make.
    • Team the leadership candidates 1/1 with mentors to guide them.
    • Consider an “internal” Board of Directors for developing leaders. Members are considered advisors to the true Board of Directors, understand company strategy, are coached on company values, and are involved in an advisory capacity in key company decisions.
    • Consider a leadership “boot camp” program to groom potential leaders and weed out those who like the idea of leadership more than the reality.
    • From the standpoint of a very hierarchical company, the following items are involved:
      • Time
      • Talent
      • Defining the traits for key positions
      • Identifying candidates who appear to possess these traits
      • Assigning leadership roles to these individuals in executing the annual strategic plan – with senior managers mentoring leaders-in-training
      • Include training and development in professional development plans
      • Investigate employee assessment tools, for example the Myers-Briggs tools.

Key Words: Leadership, Development, Goals, Values, Roles, Expectations, Mentor 

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