How to nurture your future leaders

5 minutes

The various management levels are essential for businesses. Managers play a crucial role in how a company operates, ensuring it achieves its goals. Whether through managing resources, organising teams or reducing costs.

Due to their role within the business, it's important to have great managers. What's more, is scoping out leaders for the future. After all, your current managers might opt to change career paths. 

Hiring external replacements is one way to do this. But, this option is often costly. Also, the external hire might be new to both your company and the industry you operate in. Because of this, it's likely to take time for them to get up to speed. 

One solution, which requires more of a long-term plan, is to nurture leaders of the future. This strategy promotes employee development, allowing businesses to thrive in the future. But, with this in mind, how do you go about nurturing your future leaders?

Widen their responsibilities

Growth tends to open outside of the comfort zone. So, increasing your future leaders' responsibilities will help them to gain more experience. You should allow them to work within different departments. This will give them a taste of the various aspects of your business. 

When trying to spot future leaders, noticing the potential of employees is only the start. Then it's a case of guiding them through their development. 

Leaders take part in strategic planning, influencing the future direction of the business. So, understanding exactly how the business operates is essential. That's why it's important to widen your future leaders' responsibilities. It's also wise to expose them to different aspects of the industry. This is all so they can contribute to the future decision-making process.

Allow them to learn from mistakes

You should position your future leaders in new areas. Allow them to take on a variety of challenging projects. Here, you want to assess their ability in real-life business situations. This allows you to see how they cope while they navigate various obstacles. 

With challenging projects, your future leaders will test their abilities. Of course, with challenges, comes the increasing likelihood of mistakes. Instead, of looking down on these mistakes, you should remain encouraging. Otherwise, your future leaders might stop taking on new challenges, stunting their growth. 

When it comes to taking on new tasks, mistakes are pretty much inevitable. But, these are opportunities to learn. With time, your future leaders will refine their skills. This will allow them to take the lead on more projects, enhancing their role within the business. 

Prioritise soft skills 

Understanding the various aspects of your business is important. But, it's knowing how to lead people, which is key for your future leaders. Having the ability to lead requires a strong set of soft skills. Whether it's communicating, organising people or making decisions. 

Soft skills are often harder to measure than technical skills. This makes them difficult to quantify in the same way. Yet, they are equally as important. Prioritising soft skills is likely to help you see a higher return on your investment. This is because soft skills allow people to lead, manage and coach others. So, it’s worth investing in those who naturally have a range of soft skills. 

People with soft skills are often team players, hardworking and can adapt to change. It’s worth keeping an eye on employees who already have these skills. Because when nurtured, these employees can play a major role in your business.

Provide support and feedback

Your future leaders are always learning. So, they aren’t going to get in right all the time. Of course, it’s up to you to decide how you react to these mistakes. But, when you support your employees, you will get the best out of them. Also, this support is best for the longevity of your business, as you are likely to retain talent

Another way to support your future leaders is to provide regular feedback. Without feedback, your future leaders might not know how they are performing. These regular catchups should cover what they are doing well and areas they can improve in. Here, you will be able to discuss issues and find key focus points moving forward. With this support, your future leaders will develop and realise their potential.  

Celebrate their wins 

Going through all the necessary growth to become a leader is difficult. They will no doubt come up against difficult projects and setbacks along the way. That’s why it’s important to provide an encouraging environment for your employees. 

Then, with time, your future leaders will begin to show signs of growth. They might overcome a challenge and achieve a performance-based milestone. Or they might have successfully led a project for the first time. Either way, it’s important to recognise them for it. This is especially true when they have shown promising leadership skills. 

Recognising their contributions is one thing. But, it’s also important to reward them for their achievements. This could be a promotion and a new job title. Rewarding them financially is also an option. You could give them a pay increase or extra bonus payments. 

Rewarding your future leaders will keep them engaged. And the best way to do this is by finding out what motivates them. But, remember, you also want to encourage more growth. So, it’s a good idea to increase their responsibilities. 

Leadership and management training

Training provides a structured route to developing employees. And this is no different with your future leaders. Of course, some people have a natural ability to lead others. So, they might be able to grasp these skills quicker than others. 

Leadership training is a helpful tool for all your future leaders. There are different types of leadership training courses. Each targets a unique area, prompting the development of your future leaders. Whether it's coaching for performance, leading change or driving a high-performance culture. With these courses, your future leaders will gain knowledge and effective management techniques. 

Do you want to nurture your future leaders with training? If you do, then head over to our leadership and management training page for more information. 

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