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Line Your Bench With Star Leaders: Here’s How

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Posted by Darleen DeRosa October 2, 2017

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According to Brandon Hall’s State of Leadership Development report, 25% of organizations report that less than 10% of critical leadership positions have ready and willing successors.

For leaders in Human Resources, finding the right individuals to fill leadership positions is an essential task to ensure the business’s ongoing success. Rather than hiring from the outside, which takes a great deal of time and money to get someone up to speed, many companies prefer to look within their organization to fill key roles.

While there is always going to be an ebb and flow of people leaving your organization (whether C-Suite or mid-level), having this occur without a pipeline of potential candidates pressures HR leaders to fill the position quickly. This, in turn, can lead to rushed decisions and poor-fit candidates being promoted.

Successfully promoting from within requires identifying employees with the potential to be star leaders and providing the training to develop their skillsets and knowledge.

An added benefit of developing up-and-coming leaders? It helps retain employees and keep them actively engaged by demonstrating the opportunity for mobility within the organization.

Because positions can open up unexpectedly, it is vital that you have a strong pipeline of candidates for leadership positions. Here are the steps you can take to ensure your organization has a strong leadership pipeline:

Identify the Predictors of Future Success

Identifying the required competencies for each key position helps HR professionals predict which employees have the potential to be high performing leaders. This should be top of mind for both present and future development. Think of competencies as the required skills and characteristics you’d put on a job description – or as a “Success Profile” of what makes for superior performance in a given role. More on competencies here.

This Success Profile you’ve created helps ensure that your promotion choices are objective rather than subjective. Promoting employees based on subjective reasons, such as performance in their current job, the extent to which you like them, or someone having “paid their dues,” is not a viable way to identify and choose leaders. The costs for promoting the wrong leader ranges from 100-300% of that person’s salary; it’s more than 400% for a senior-level executive! Selecting the right leader does take time, but it’s critical to ensure the health and longevity of your organization.

Use Assessments

Once you’ve identified the competencies of star leaders for each key position, you can use assessments to determine the extent to which candidates possess these traits. These assessments are readily available in the form of self-assessments, situational judgment tests, potential inventories, and 360° feedback questionnaires.

See also: Identifying & Developing Future Leaders: Proven Techniques for Maximizing ROI

Assessments are surefire methods for gaining insights on a particular employee. The information collected from these sources enables you to rate each candidate’s leadership acumen and potential.

Using assessments allows you to:

  • Review an employee’s past behavior and experiences
  • Clarify the behaviors they exhibit while on the job
  • Understand why they behave that way
  • Predict under what conditions they are likely to demonstrate effective and ineffective behaviors

Create a Personal Development Plan

After identifying competencies and reviewing assessment results, it’s time to create a personal development plan for each person.  

While every candidate’s personal development plan is different, common elements involve coaching and mentoring, formal training, and learning on the job. This breakdown is often referred to as the 70-20-10 model, where 70% of development is based on job experiences; 20% is feedback and guidance from mentors and coaches; and 10% is from reading, e-learning, and training courses.

Close the Talent Gap & Build the Bench

Star leaders don’t necessarily just rise up on their own–they’re an investment of time and effort by line and HR managers who work together as a cohesive team. By objectively identifying your high potential employees and equipping them with the skills and knowledge to succeed, you’ll help senior executives to successfully select and promote leaders from within.

On Point has a proven approach and robust methodology for identifying and developing high-potential employees. This methodology provides a comprehensive, data-driven picture of your organization’s top performers and a clear path forward. The result is a strong pipeline of potential leaders who can take over quickly when positions are vacated unexpectedly.

If you’re ready to develop future leaders and build a leadership pipeline for your business’s ongoing success, let’s talk. Feel free to peruse our free guide on Identifying & Developing Future Leaders, or subscribe to our blog for more updates!Request_A_Consultation

Topics: Identify And Develop Leaders, Leadership Development

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