Millennials and Generation Z

5 Steps to Growing Future Leaders

By

Stacey Pezold

| Mar 8, 2017

5 Steps to Growing Future Leaders

As baby boomers retire and thriving companies encounter rapid growth, one issue facing organizations today is the ability to identify new leaders. Leadership is a skill that’s not quickly or easily taught. It requires experience, coaching and formal training.

Unfortunately, the time and financial investment required to build up an organization’s future leaders can become a hurdle for some. But, a strong leadership development plan could expand your organization’s talent pool and set up your future leaders for greater success.

Learn why more employers are rethinking traditional employee training and moving toward e-learning solutions, which are faster, easier to access and more cost effective.

While our organization continues to grow, so too has our demand for strong leadership, which is why we instilled a leadership development program that has further developed our talent pool of up-and-coming leaders. The LEADer program details are unique to our organization’s specific needs and customized to fit our employee’s experience level, while also helping the organization accomplish its goals.

No one knows your business better than you. When you develop your own internal leadership plan, ensure your company’s values are incorporated into the final product. Before you begin crafting an effective leadership development plan, first define what effective leadership looks like in your business. Knowing this, you easily can build a program that’s best for your employees.

Answer these five questions to get started on your own leadership development plan:

  1. What does leadership look like in your company?

Take a good look around at the leaders in your organization. What makes them successful leaders? Avoid the cliché definitions of leadership such as “team player” and “hard worker.” Think beyond the typical traits we associate with leadership and really find what attributes set these people apart. Find out what really drives them to reach the goals they’ve set for themselves and their departments.

  1. What changes do you want to see?

Building a leadership development program for the sake of adding it to your corporate résumé is a wasted effort. While an internal program can be an added recruiting tool, the main goal is to impart leadership skills to your employees, which will enhance their value and improve overall productivity. As a side note, align the changes you wish to see with the current company culture to ensure a positive response.

  1. Who will participate?

Although pinpointing upper level employees to fill leadership gaps makes sense, companies should consider taking a more proactive approach and develop talent across the board.

Paycom’s LEADer program is open to all employees, no matter their tenure or seniority. We encourage everyone in the organization to apply. This strategy helps prepare all employees to fill current and expected skills shortages, in addition to future leadership gaps.

We focus on empowering our employees to lead where they are. Leadership doesn’t come from a position or title. Even if a team member has no desire to enter management, they can still lead themselves, their co-workers and their client to success.

For those with aspirations to enter management, it’s important for us to educate our employees that reaching a certain position in an organization won’t automatically make them a great leader. Good leadership is learned in the trenches, before a title is earned.

  1. What does your program look like?

Once you have answered questions one through three, you can begin planning the actual program, and there are several factors to consider:

  • Should your program be a weekend trip or a weekly workshop? What makes sense for your business and employees’ work schedules? Also consider time, budget and repeatability. Weekend trips can be fun and engaging, but sometimes costly and hard to maintain, so having ongoing weekly workshops can be just as engaging for less money.

 

  • What do you need to get your point across? Maybe it’s guest speakers, written materials, inspirational videos in your learning management system (LMS) or maybe a combination. Whatever it may be, make sure to include these teaching components into your budget planning and scheduling so you have ample amount of time to prepare. If PowerPoint presentations are options, consider creating generic templates that can be reused to save time.

 

  • Sometimes “doing” is more impactful than telling. It is likely that your employees have sat through plenty of workshops and appreciate a new perspective or delivery. Feel free to get creative. Our LEADer program includes outreach activities that provide opportunities for participants to lead a group of volunteers. This real-world experience has a lasting impact on the growth a leader.

 

  1. How effective were you?

After the conclusion of any new process, an evaluation should follow. Survey the participants about their experience for constructive feedback. Keep in mind leadership development is a process, so check in after six months to evaluate the program’s effectiveness.

An internal leadership development program is not the golden ticket, but it is a valuable tool in providing employees with necessary leadership skills. So, as you’re planning your next budget, consider investing in leadership and development. When the time comes to fill critical positions, you’ll have a great talent pool available.

 

About the Author

Stacey Pezold

Stacey Pezold is Paycom’s former Chief Learning Officer. Having joined the company in 2005, she worked her way up to such positions as Regional Manager, Director of Corporate Training, Executive Vice President of Operations and, most recently, Chief Operating Officer. A graduate of Oklahoma State University, she has more than a decade of leadership and training experience.

See more posts by Stacey Pezold