Building Leadership Bench Strength 

Building Leadership Bench Strength

Now more than ever it is important for an organization to develop current leaders, but also to develop future leaders through the acceleration of leadership development programs. What could be more important to the long-term success of an organization than the choice and development of future leaders?

To foster the development of potential successors, companies need to build action plans to grow their leadership bench strength. A strong leadership bench – or pool of future leaders ready to shift into leadership roles – ensures continuity in leadership while avoiding vacancies and periods of ineffective leadership while new hires are trained. Equally important, it encourages employees to stay.

Look beyond the here and now. It’s critical to understand where you want to go and the skills needed to get there and to align leadership development strategy with your organizational strategy. Keep an eye out for the future and connect that with a plan to develop the capabilities and experiences of your current employees and to attract ongoing talent to your company.

Search for opportunities. Once you define the vision and the skills needed to get there, the next step is to identify individuals who have the required skill set to step up into a leadership position, making sure that you have more than one potential successor for each role. One way of doing this is to regularly engage with other leaders across the business to fully understand who you have on the team.

Focus on development. Your employees are your biggest asset. By coupling leadership development and succession planning, you can create a well-oiled system that can identify the skills needed and also develop them along the way. A good starting point to signal your intent that you are focused on development is to use mentoring conversations. By spending time with your employees and focusing on specific activities that excite them, you can start to gauge where they see their career going, show them a path for getting there, and determine if there is an emotional interest in leadership roles in the future.

When organizations invest in focused development of their employees, it often sets off a chain of positivity. Not only does it continue the leadership pipeline or supply chain, it also signals to the employees that the company values them and that there is a path to succession within the business.