“Our high-potential employees seem to become less successful when they are promoted to manager.”
Have you ever promoted one of your most promising employees to a position of authority, only to find that he or she falls apart under the weight of added responsibility?
Or perhaps you are that employee, struggling to lead your new team with the gusto and confidence that won you the promotion?
Whichever applies to you, you’re not alone:
- A 2012 study (Benchmarks and Trends in U.S. Leadership Development, Laci Loew and Karen O’Leonard) found that US companies spend more than $14 billion every year to further develop their leaders.
- When 500 executives were surveyed by The Conference Board and McKinsey & Company in 2012, leadership development was the top priority of more than two thirds.
- An Ashbridge School (UK) survey found that less than 10% of senior managers felt their employers were good at developing leaders for the modern global market.
- A third of US companies have failed to exploit international opportunities because, to put it bluntly, their leaders can’t lead and the business has failed to empower leaders (Mckinsey Quarterly July 2012).
How does experiencing the same problems as so many others make you feel? Are you relieved or anxious? Have you resigned yourself to continuing to amble along with no real management impetus, or do you see a real opportunity to not only survive, but thrive with the energy of impactful leadership when you empower leaders?
Engage leaders who engage employees
The power of an engaged workforce shouldn’t be underestimated. Businesses that empower leaders to engage their teams see a number of real benefits. In one of the world’s largest surveys on the subject, and drawing on studies of more than one million work teams and 20,000 interviews, Gallup found that engaged business teams outperformed in nine distinct categories. These include:
- Customer satisfaction
- Staff retention
The message is clear: businesses that empower leaders to engage their teams and maintain that engagement are businesses that win. The bad news is that finding these engaging leaders is like looking for a needle in a haystack. The good news is that with the right coaching, the employee that shows so much promise can be developed into the engaging leader your business needs.
What makes an engaging leader?
In that same Gallup research, five leadership capabilities were found to be essential for leaders to purposefully and consistanly engage their teams:
- Motivating to every employee, supporting an inspirational mission
- Assertiveness, even under difficult circumstances
- Ability to create a culture of accountability
- A builder of trust and transparency, fostering the best working relationships
- Courage to make business decisions and not political decisions
Only where leaders exhibited all five of these specific capabilities were teams engaged with their work, the business, and the forward vision led by strategy. And only one in ten people have all of these leadership traits, which is why those promising employees fail in the leadership challenge.
This is the challenge that faces businesses like yours every day. How do you nurture your most promising people and develop them into the engaging leaders that will drive your business forward?
The Forward Focus approach that makes a difference to business
Here at Forward Focus we work with clients to design customized, individual and focused talent management programs to empower leaders. We’ll help your promising talent develop into engaging leaders. We’ll help them to fulfill their own potential. We’ll build on the qualities that identified them as possible managers, and identify the gaps that need filling. Then we’ll work with you and the individual to develop the skill sets that will ensure they become competent – the engaging leader who will keep his or her people engaged and drive your business forward.
Make a start today and begin to empower leaders that engage
Encourage your managers to discover more about themselves. Discuss the five leadership capabilities that really make a difference, and encourage them to rate themselves in each capability. From this starting point, the manager should keep a daily journal detailing how they exhibited each of the five capabilities. If any capability wasn’t needed or used, then it should be left blank.
Reviewing this journal after the first week and then again after one month will provide a basis for reassessment of strengths and weaknesses.
From this point, specific training needs can be identified, and then the business and manager work together with Forward Focus to design an individual coaching plan: a plan that will empower leaders to become the engaging leaders they have promise to be.
Can you afford not to empower your leaders?
The question for all businesses and would-be leaders is: can you afford not to develop and empower your leaders? Leadership development is the number one concern of managers and businesses today. By not taking charge and empowering your leaders, your business is preparing itself to have a disengaged workforce.
Empower your leaders with the leadership qualities that make a difference, and they will make a difference.
Do you want your managers and leaders of the future to fail themselves and their people? Or do you want to employ strategies that will ensure your whole workforce is managed effectively by empowered and engaging leaders?
Empower your leaders today, and identify your leaders of tomorrow
As executive coaching consultants, Forward Focus has the advantage of having a team with decades of real-world business experience. Our coaches and course designers understand business and industry, and understand management and team leadership, and now you, too, can benefit from this depth and breadth of knowledge.
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