Developing future leaders is a concern we hear often and regularly from clients in every industry sector. Whether it’s a Fortune 500 company, a professional association, a mid-sized business, or a healthcare system, they are all concerned about the future of leadership as the Baby Boomers retire.
First, let’s clarify—the need is for leadership not management. People in most organizations are confident they’ve done a good job developing managers who get the job done; manage functional areas; accomplish operational goals; and work with their employees to be more productive and effective; so most organizations understand that competent managers are essential to success. As business thought leader Peter Drucker famously said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”
- Develop and communicate a vision for the future of the organization
- Embrace change and innovation
- Communicate with transparency and authenticity
- Help others fulfill their potential
- Attract willing followers
- Focus on what is really important in any situation
- Create a positive, constructive culture
- Set priorities based on the greater good for all stakeholders
- Drive solutions for customers’ desires, needs, and problems
Predicting which managers will transition to leadership positions, however, is about as certain as picking the winning horse at the Kentucky Derby two years in advance. It’s not easy to pull off, but organizations, much like horse racing, can develop a stable of potential talent over time and help them hone their leadership skills and abilities. Then, as in horse racing where only a select few get to race in the Kentucky Derby, the group of managers that demonstrates the best leadership abilities will distinguish themselves from the group.
At the Center for Professional and Executive Development (CPED) we’ve crafted a model for leadership transitions. We help first-time supervisors, managers, and those who’ve managed by learning on the job, develop the foundational skills necessary to be successful as they manage more functions and employees. This is our Foundations of Management certificate program.
The Advanced Management and Leadership program is a talent-building program for mid-level managers who usually lead other similarly skilled professionals. People in this role may require a more advanced understanding of how to manage teams, influence others, and how to negotiate effectively.
Those managers who are developed over time and have high potential to transition to an executive leadership role need to learn and demonstrate a different set of knowledge and skills. Business acumen and aligning organizations for strategic performance, managing across functions and business units, making organizational level financial decisions, and leading organizational change become essential. Our Executive Leadership programs work with high potential leaders to make this ultimate transition successful.
The bottom line: Whether organizations bet on managers to win, place, or show in the leadership arena; one thing is clear, if they don’t develop leaders at all levels in a dynamic way, they won’t be in the race for true leadership talent.