Are you looking for ways to develop leaders in your workplace? If so, you’re not alone. Many organisations are searching for ways to identify and develop leaders at all levels of their business.
When it comes to developing leaders in the workplace, the development process can be both formal and informal. It can include things like one-to-one leadership coaching, talent and graduate coaching, mentoring programmes, or courses, including our own Developing a Coaching Style.
If you’re looking for insight into developing leaders in the workplace, you’ve come to the right place. In this blog, we delve into three tips to get you started.
The Importance of Developing Leaders in the Workplace
Before we share our three tips for developing leaders in the workplace, it's important to understand why developing leaders is beneficial. After all, if you're not sure this is important, you're less likely to recognise the benefits. You may even find yourself struggling to get your stakeholders on board.
Simply put, the development of leadership within an organisation is a key factor in the success of the organisation. Leaders have the ability to motivate and inspire the people around them and can be the driving force behind a successful culture. Great leaders are also important when it comes to creating and managing an efficient and effective organisational structure.
By identifying and developing leadership potential, employers can ensure that they have the right people in the right roles, which can lead to better decision-making and improved performance. Leaders also serve as role models and act as mentors for the rest of the workforce. They set the tone for the organisation and can provide guidance, support, and direction for their fellow employees.
Finally, leaders can foster a culture of innovation and risk-taking, which can lead to new ideas, better solutions, and increased productivity.
Three Tips For Developing Leaders in the Workplace
From identifying future leaders to offering leadership coaching and development opportunities, here are our three tips for developing leaders in the workplace:
1. Identify Potential Leaders
The first step in developing leaders in the workplace is to identify leadership needs. Consider your organisation’s needs in the future. What knowledge, skills, and behaviours are required to lead your organisation forward?
Then create opportunities for those who wish to progress to leadership roles. This could be that they know it or that they need to be exposed to some safe ways to explore leadership roles, such as shadowing or secondments.
In selecting colleagues who can take on leadership roles, think about inclusivity and embrace opportunities to create an equitable playing field, especially considering how you can level the playing field for those people who are underrepresented at leadership level.
You should listen to these people and understand what they need in order to be ‘ready’ to take on leadership. Being ready might involve some individual development, like coaching or mentoring, prior to any group work development, such as training courses.
If you are able to identify employees that have the potential to be great leaders, it’s worth having a conversation with them to see if they are interested or ready to step into a leadership role. Not everyone is, but research shows that at least one-third of employees want to enhance their capabilities and become leaders at some point in their careers.
Remember to consider all levels of the organisation, not just senior leaders.
Who in your organisation could, with talent and graduate leadership training, excel in a leadership role? What about neuro-divergent talent? How can they be empowered and prepared for leadership? Are they ready to progress their career with on-the-job training, mentoring, and coaching?
2. Offer Leadership Training and Development Opportunities
Within any organisation, leadership training and development opportunities are incredibly important. In fact, 83% of organisations believe it’s important to offer these opportunities to their people. Yet, one in three companies still aren’t offering this.
Without leadership training and development opportunities, many organisations face losing their top talent. After all, if we’re ready for new opportunities but aren’t offered them, we’re less likely to feel as though we’re valued members of the team.
But which organisations can afford to lose their potential leaders of the future when the recruitment market is so tough at the moment?
Before putting your leadership and development offerings on the table, avoid the temptation to go to a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, invest your time with your leadership and management development providers, telling them:
This is what good looks like in our leadership team of the future...
This is the starting point: evidence, context, constraints, pain points, opportunities...
This is what our people have told us about how they’d like to experience their transition to leadership...
The key to success is truly understanding the needs of the client, what they aim to achieve, and design a bespoke solution comprising some of these solutions:
One-to-one leadership coaching
Modular training programme
Additionally, consider offering mentoring programmes to provide employees with the support and guidance they need to become successful leaders.
At The Leadership Coaches, we are fortunate to have not only a team of credible executive coaches but also, within the team, we have skilled learning and development practitioners who work on global leadership and management development solutions.
3. Foster a Culture of Learning and Growth
This tip is particularly important when developing leaders in the workplace. Without a culture of learning and growth, your people may feel as though their opportunities are limited. They may be afraid to ask for training, and they may feel as though learning and enhancing their skills aren’t important.
As people who work in an environment where a culture of learning and growth is promoted are more likely to feel empowered and embrace a growth mindset, be sure to encourage employees to grow personally and professionally.
As a leader, ensure your employees feel encouraged and supported in learning new skills and taking on challenges. Allow them the chance to test new ways of working, and continue to empower them even if things don’t go to plan.
The wonderful work of Amy Edmondson around Psychological Safety offers leaders a good blueprint about what we can do as leaders to ensure people feel it’s okay to speak up about their learning and development needs, confess their weaknesses, and identify how they can improve and develop.
Similarly, a culture that embraces a growth mindset (referenced in the excellent work of Carol Dweck) will help new leaders thrive. A growth mindset enables people to learn as they go, meaning if they have setbacks and failures along the way (as most of us should when we learn!), then these are used to build on and create an even more resilient learner and leader.
As you foster a culture of learning and growth, you’ll begin to see real changes in the workplace. In addition to learning and developing their skills, your top talent will collaborate and work together better. They’ll also be more open to putting forward new ideas and will be less afraid of getting things ‘wrong’.
Developing leadership in the workplace is essential to the success of an organisation. By considering these three tips, you can create a culture of leadership development and ensure your organisation has the people and skills it needs to succeed.
If you’re looking for external support, we’re on hand to help at The Leadership Coaches.
At the core of our practice is leadership coaching and talent development. This involves helping individuals identify areas in which they need improvement and giving them tools to make sure they reach their goals.
As industry leaders, all of our coaches have experience in coaching and talent development. Currently providing coaching to clients across the country, contact us to learn more about what we can do for you and your people.