The Importance Of A Leadership Development Plan

As a business owner have you ever given any thought as to who will replace one of your senior staff if they were to resign today?

It’s a hard question, and the truth is no one really knows when crisis, resignations or leaves of absence might strike. That’s why it’s important to have a plan in place for replacing your leadership if and when the times come. Losing a member of your leadership team can greatly impact your organisation, so by making a plan can help reduce your stress, limit any adverse effects, while keeping your business operating efficiently during transition.

Recruitment and talent acquisition are two of the most common issues I help my clients with, often because they’re left scrambling trying to find someone to fill a vacant role. Instead of struggling, consider leveraging the talent you already have. A leadership development plan is a strategic plan that helps your employees develop competencies with the goal of preparing them for management and leadership roles. Some benefits include improving employee retention and employee recognition, cost savings, fueling business strategy, and driving better business results, among others.

I have outlined below my recommendations for introducing leadership development plans in your organisation.

Assess and identify your talent

Depending on the size of your organisation, your talent pool will vary in size. If you have a small to medium-sized business, leadership development plans are still a useful tool in planning for the future. I recommend taking a look at your employee roster to see what skills they bring to the table and speak with them to learn about what their professional goals and aspirations are. Larger organisations can work with their middle management to identify employees who show potential for leadership.

As well, don’t overlook entry-level employees. Sometimes, our best talent comes from the frontlines and with the right training and guidance, these employees can become rising stars and soon climb the ranks of your organisation.

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Determine key leadership competencies and leadership styles

In addition to the skills your employees bring to the table, it’s important to also consider their leadership competencies and leadership styles. When replacing a leader, you may feel inclined to select someone who complements your organisation’s culture. While this is important, I recommend paying close attention to your immediate and future business needs as well. This should give you clarity on who’s best suited for the job.

Design the plan

Leadership development plans require an investment in your employees. In addition to formal training and courses, I recommend introducing a mentorship program and job shadowing opportunities to decrease the gap between employees and leadership. Keep in mind that the best leaders tend to know their organisation inside and out. Starbucks, is a great example, as they recognise the importance of this and train their corporate managers as baristas so they truly understand the barista and customer experience. The company also invests heavily in leadership development at all levels of the organisation.

Considering the disruptions COVID-19 has caused many organisations, especially from a talent perspective, now’s the time to plan for a stronger tomorrow. If you’re interested in implementing leadership development plans at your organisation, get in touch.

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