Why are we failing our future leaders?

I hate to break it to you, but chances are, you’re probably not equipping your future leaders with the skills they need to lead successfully.

That’s according to Harvard researchers, who found that most managers don’t receive leadership training until they’ve held a leadership role for nearly a decade.

And in one of the most expansive leadership projects ever conducted, the Global Leadership Forecast, there’s been a continued drop in leadership bench strength (ready-now leaders who can step in to replace those who move on).

Its latest 2018 study found only 14% of companies had strong leaders. And less than 15% of the CEO’s surveyed said they had the leadership talent they need to execute their business strategies. 

If that’s not concerning, I don’t know what is.

It’s clear we aren’t equipping our emerging and mid-level leaders with the leadership tools they need to succeed in their current roles. And we’re not setting them up for their next one.

How We’re Failing

One of the most common mistakes I see organisations make is when they thrust people into leadership positions without the necessary skills and support to do the job well. The thinking goes that because they’ve been good at “the job”, they’ll be good at leading people “doing that job”. Or, they think that the person will just learn “all that people stuff” as they go along.

No one should be surprised when the cracks start to show – whether it be in team performance, lack of engagement or results.

Many managers have great skills in their specialist area. I have no doubt that they’re an accomplished lawyer, an awesome surgeon, a capable engineer or a top-notch accountant. But few managers who I speak to at this level have been taught how to have a skilled feedback conversation, how to coach their direct reports or how to delegate properly. And don’t get me started on them knowing how to manage non-performance!

In short, we’re taking the ‘sink or swim’ approach with our first time or emerging leaders too often, while piling the leadership investment onto our top tier leaders.

Our commitment to developing talent is unfairly skewed upwards.

And it’s showing.

The Cost to Business

Engagement surveys are telling us that it’s the emerging leaders in our organisations who are the ones struggling the most with strategy execution. It’s where the majority of the engagement issues are surfacing.

All of this demonstrates the value of developing leadership potential earlier in careers.

Organisations need to extend the development of high potential talent below senior levels. Organisations that do this have been shown to be 4.2 times more likely to financially outperform those that don’t.

The Leader’s Map

It’s for all of these reasons that I’ve developed, over the last two years, The Leader’s Map – an online based blended leadership programme specifically designed for the future leaders in your organisation. It covers ALL the leadership basics that emerging or mid-level managers need to succeed in their roles.

And what’s more, it can be customised to your organisation!

Here’s what’s covered in the eight modules:

  • Defining your leadership brand and your leadership “true north”
  • The art of giving and receiving feedback
  • Becoming an outstanding coach
  • How to manage your time and priorities like a pro
  • Mindbody Reset: How to build resilience and manage stress
  • Building a high performing team
  • Managing performance
  • Leading yourself and others through change

To find out more, visit The Leader’s Map website which can show you all you need to know about the programme.

Questions to Consider

So, I’m going to leave you with a couple of questions:

  • When you think of your emerging leaders in your organisation, how confident are you that they have the skills required to successfully lead in their roles? Are they all across these important leadership skills in these modules?
  • And if YOU are an emerging leader, how confident are you in navigating these leadership challenges? Are you confident in managing priorities, giving feedback, coaching conversations or dealing with poor performance?

Don’t leave your emerging leaders to fend for themselves, because they didn’t have the information, tools or training they needed to lead well. It can be costly, both to their personal development – and to your organisation.

The Leaders Map is a cost-effective way to set your emerging leaders up for success. Get in touch today for a no obligation chat to see how The Leader’s Map can support your organisation.

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Suzi McAlpine

Suzi McAlpine is a Leadership Development Specialist and author of the award-winning leadership blog, The Leader’s Digest. She writes and teaches about accomplished leadership, what magic emerges when it’s present, and how to ignite better leadership in individuals, teams and organisations. Suzi has been a leader and senior executive herself, working alongside CEOs and executive teams in a variety of roles. Her experience has included being a head-hunter, an executive coach, and a practice leader for a division at the world’s largest HR consulting firm. Suzi provides a range of services as a Leadership Development Specialist, including executive coaching, leadership workshops and development programmes for CEOs, leadership teams and organisations throughout New Zealand.

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