An earlier post listed the 7 Principles of Leadership Development in no specific order of importance:
- Necessary Skilled-Knowledge
- Using Existing Employees as Mentors
- Education for Leadership
- Strategy for Leadership Development
- The Chief Executive
- The Chance to Lead
Exploring lessons learned and how an organization and I developed a leadership development process for high potential employees
Now that we have an idea of the needed skilled-knowledge; Who should be involved in the leadership development process?
This is a tough question and the company and I went back an forth on this for a while. Below are some some things we discovered and learned.
First, we had to identify how anyone can find themselves within an role that needs to exercise leadership1.
There are four possible routes – not mutually exclusive:
- Emergent – The person emerges in a group that is lacking leadership, there is a level of complexity, a need, plus others in the group view and identify this person as a good leader.
- Appointment – A person is promoted or appointed into a leadership role. This may be made by a manager who chooses this individual, for example team leader or project manager, or a promotion to manage staff and the role of management has leadership accountabilities inherit in the role.
- Elected – Political and board based leadership is often elected.
- Hereditary – A son or daughter of a family run business may be put into the role of leadership.
You will see and experience that each of these different ways someone may be placed into a leadership role carried different accountabilities and managerial-structures, each needed different leadership development skilled-knowledge. This is why choosing who and how they will come to have leadership accountability and whose work they will be accountable for is necessary for leadership development.
For the majority of you, (and the company I was consulting and coaching) because the company is a managerial-accountability-hierarchy we focused on appointment and emergent routes.
We already had ~150 employees that were identified as high potential. This list of candidates was chosen by their direct managers and their managers-manager. They were vetted through a question process and each manager was asked the following questions about the high potential employee:
- Does s/he contribute to enabling the team to complete its task, while working to maintain harmony and collaboration amongst the working team? Share at least 3 examples, explicit and concrete. If they do not serve as ‘team-leader’ how do you observe them providing team-building for the individual and support of the team leader?
- What is the longest (time-span) task that you have delegated to this person? Share how they completed the task and how often you had to assist or correct their work on this task?
- In reference to the role that this person will have, what professional knowledge / technical ability does this person have that will gain respect of the team members?
- Does this person have the relevant experience to lead at the level where you see them leading, following this process?
- Does this person have any extreme behavior that may get in their way of handling the increased stress, accountability and authority that accompanies leading others?
As we narrowed the list we asked the same question face to face with the managers and continued to de-select candidates that were felt to not be ready for the leadership-development process.
With the responses because we had an idea of the skilled-knowledge needed and some idea of the future of the organization and its present needs we were able to be selective and better match the current organizational needs with the future needs.
Armed now with the needed Skilled-Knowledge and a Selection Process that supplied us with ~150 potential managerial-leaders, we kept on focusing on what is working and what the next steps will be…
What do you think?
How do you identify and select future leaders of the organization? What methods are effective for screening candidates?
Reference: John Adair; How to Grow Leaders