Building a sustainable business is dependent upon many different things but developing future leaders might be the most important investment that you can make right now. For instance, baby boomers represent a significant percentage of the heavy manufacturing workforce, and millions of them are expected to retire in the foreseeable future. Although it’s going to be difficult to replace all of that experience and knowledge, you can help to bridge the gap by following the basic rules of leadership development and succession planning. Here are some tips to foster leadership skills in younger workers
It’s tempting to keep a fixed list of high-performing employees that could make good leaders in the future. Recognizing the skills that are needed for foundry management positions is important, but leadership development should be flexible and revolve around an educational system that can help younger workers develop those skills. A combination of classroom training, job rotation and action-learning programs is a potent combination for developing future leaders. A growing number of organizations are focusing more on action-learning programs to foster leadership developmental experiences for younger employees. These programs help individuals, teams, and organizations by giving employees opportunities to explore and troubleshoot major strategic problems while learning general management skills.
It’s important to inform employees where they stand in the hierarchy of your organization and what they need to do to climb the ladder. For example, some companies are turning succession planning into an ongoing activity by using web-based tools that allow employees to access their personal information along with job opportunities based on their experience. It’s also becoming one of the most efficient ways for hiring managers to review the current level, potential level, experience, and development plans of their employees.
Measure Progress Consistently
Keep a solid roster of candidates for leadership roles instead of always searching for replacements when executives retire or resign. Ensure that high-potential employees always have options to move vertically or laterally within your organization to prevent them from growing restless. Schedule talent review meetings on a regular basis to discover how many candidates are ready now for your top positions.
Sometimes, all it takes is the right coach to bring out the best in people. Internal and external coaches are great tools for easing leadership transitions and creating accelerated development plans. It’s personal, behavior-oriented and can be specifically targeted for younger workers with high potential.
Promoting leadership skills in younger workers is essential to the long-term health of your organization. Just remember that while some leaders are born with natural abilities, high-potential employees can learn many of these leadership qualities too when provided with the right resources.
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