Not Sure How to Develop Your Emerging Leaders?

Seven Simple Suggestions

We were camping over the long weekend with two other families (including parents and their young children). The focus-point of the weekend was the 'Walk of Importance' ceremony for Ben, an 11 year old boy.

A 'Walk of Importance' formally recognises and highlights the transition from boyhood / girlhood to manhood / womanhood. I was fortunate enough to one of the participants.

It had been a great break but on the day we were packing up, the kids were getting fractious.

I happened to be near Ben as he was getting really frustrated folding up his tent. He stamped his foot and was turning to storm off.

His father, close by, quietly but firmly said, "Don't walk off. A man faces issues. Deal with it. Bruce (that was me) is there to help you."

Nothing else was said. No heat. No judgement. Simply brilliant.

Ben turned back and dealt with it - he was becoming a man, ably lead by a wise man (his father).

Leadership Development is like parenting - a mindset that is always 'on'; it doesn't sleep, it's always ready.

Here are several suggestions for consideration for whenever you meet your Hi-Po s (high-potentials, emerging future leaders), even casually.

  1. Spend time with each one asking and listening. What's going well for them? Where are they struggling? Are they working in an area they are passionate about? If not, what type of work do they crave?
  2. Challenge each Hi-Po's thought process while providing emotional support. 'What was your thinking around that?' 'How did thinking that way make you feel?' Use a coaching approach to help them solve problems - don't tell them the answer.
  3. Show appreciation, recognition, credit and give them an opportunity to shine.
  4. Create cohorts where leaders and emerging leaders can work together and learn from one another.
  5. When ready, provide them with a project or new challenge.
  6. Promote external knowledge gathering - education, seminars, trade shows, professional associations, etc.
  7. Design a platform for knowledge sharing - learn something, teach something.

This is more of an individualised, high-touch, caring approach to leadership development, not unlike parenting. This is powerful catalyst which fosters learning and development.