Great talent is out there, and companies are all competing for the best of the best – people that clearly demonstrate the potential to be the leaders of tomorrow. Organizations not only struggle with finding and recruiting talented individuals, but also how to support human capital in reaching their full potential.
How do you develop this talent and prepare them for leadership roles? How do you keep them engaged, challenged and motivated? In short, how do you bring out the best in them?
Kevin Daum of inc.com identifies similar concerns, “talented people are usually easy to spot. Gifts like intelligence, curiosity and ambition tend to stand out in a crowd of ordinary (or uninvested) workers. But how do you harness strong potential when you find it? It’s much harder to nurture talent than it is to see it.”
When left to their own devices, talent that has great potential either exits the organization for greener pastures or they underperform relative to expectations.
“Many promising future leaders are left to muddle along on their own, slowing their growth and impeding the positive impact they could have on others,” Daum adds.
So, how do organizations rectify this situation? How can managers get the most out of newly minted potential leaders and empower them to reach their potential?
- Reward ambition and success: Future leaders tend to be driven. Reward them for going above and beyond. Give them the opportunity to achieve success, and reward them when they do.
- Treat failures as learning opportunities: Give your talent the opportunity to try new things and run with their ideas. Allow them to learn by doing, and give them some space to operate. If they succeed, everyone wins. If they fail, take this as an opportunity to provide support and mentor them.
- Provide growth opportunities: If you don’t offer top talent with the chance to grow, they will find somewhere else to do it. Give them some breathing room to experiment, allow them to propose ideas, allow them to develop new skills, offer coaching, and provide them with a clear vision of what the future entails. The more they grow professionally, the more it will benefit the company, and the quicker they will be ready for a leadership position.
- Let them take the lead: Assigning responsibilities is good, but allowing people to take ownership of certain tasks or projects allows them to develop leadership skills and gain a better appreciation of what leadership roles entail. Don’t micromanage them.
- Don’t underestimate desire: Not every employee will have all the skills or experience to fill a role. What many companies overlook is that skills can be learned, desire can’t. If you identify an employee with a desire to succeed and achieve, give them the tools and support to evolve. Taking a risk could yield big rewards – for the employee and the organization.
- Make empowering leaders part of your company culture: If you truly want to empower your talent, you have to live it through your organizational culture. Build empowerment into everything you do – your company mission and vision, policies, recruitment process, succession planning and more.