Developing Leaders for Tomorrow

The pandemic followed by the ‘Great Resignation’ has seen leaders perform the delicate balancing act of seeking stable footing while dealing with disruptive and unpredictable market forces, struggling to hire amidst a 15-year high in talent shortages, and revamping policies to meet the employees demand of a more flexible work environment. Developing leaders from within the ranks has now become imperative and very critical task to ensure we have leaders who have learned the organization from the ground up and who buy into the vision of the company and help realize it. It also helps to retain the best people by showing them, they have a future in the organization and need not go elsewhere to climb the career ladder.

I often advise leaders to be humble and connect with those around. Admit mistakes when you’re wrong, choose courage even when it makes you feel vulnerable, and share what’s on your mind and in your heart. It can be scary at first, but it’s the very best thing you can do for your teams and for yourself.

Here are a few ideas to create a climate in which the notion of leadership excellence can flourish.

Create the Climate

One of the most important things you can do to develop leaders internally is to create an environment in which young people come to embrace the concept that being a leader is a desirable goal. To assure the emergence of future leaders, you must have young people who aspire to leadership. That requires a culture in which leadership is appreciated and honored. You go a long way toward building that kind of environment when you acknowledge and praise the qualities that make different people in your family effective leaders. It is important to instill in younger people the knowledge that leadership begins with the recognition of the opportunity to provide leadership. Make sure they understand that they need to keep their eyes open and take responsibility.

Providing Development Opportunities

Once you have created the proper climate, you can turn your attention to the development of leadership itself. The more that young people get the chance to try out some leadership skills, the more excited about leading they will become.

Here are some ways to involve future leaders in the practice of effective leadership:

• Give them the opportunity to develop their skills by delegating small matters to lead.

Put them in leadership situations where, if they fail, they can learn without being embarrassed and turned off. Their assignments should also help them discover their growth capabilities and that they can come to informed decisions about how much and in what areas they want to lead.

• Provide special leadership learning opportunities within the business.

Some businesses create junior boards or shadow boards where young leaders are allowed to observe and to interact with stakeholders and others who are making decisions about the business. Or they might be brought into the deliberations of leadership meetings in ways that they can learn and contribute even before they’re expected to take over responsibility.

• Help them set goals for themselves and others.

They’ll need to learn how to set goals for the organizations they lead and for individual followers. Use your experience to show how goal setting is done and encourage them to practice setting goals.

• Look for leadership-education opportunities suited to their needs.

Most large universities offer formal executive programs to develop leadership skills. Sign up young leaders to attend these programs.

Practice What You Preach

Without a doubt, the most important contribution you can make to the leadership development of future leaders is to be an exemplary leader yourself. When young people see in you the qualities of effective leadership, that will do more to teach and inspire them than you can imagine. They will learn from you the need to adapt their leadership style to the situation. They will see by your example what true delegation is. They will begin to recognize opportunities for leadership and understand that it’s up to them to seize those opportunities.

Arul Savio Pinto is a Senior Human Resources Professional with extensive experience in the Tech startup Landscape, having worked with early-stage startups, as well as large global organizations. His extensive experience stretches across, organizational design and development, business partnering, strategic resourcing and planning, coaching, and mentoring, employee development & performance management. Highly skilled in creating compelling Employee Value Propositions (EVP), establishing new HR functions, aligning people management strategies with business objectives. Arul has vast international exposure having been instrumental in setting up offices and Development Centers, across Middle East, North Africa, Europe, Canada and China. Arul holds a Master’s in philosophy from the Università Pontificia Salesiana, Rome, Italy. He also holds certifications from George Washington University College of Professional Studies, Washington DC, USA.