Since 2009 I have held a significant senior leadership position in my local community. It is a role I have worked on as a volunteer and, I was both honoured and surprised, when the request was extended to me… mainly because I was only 29 and would be responsible for a large group of 350 people.
Interestingly, this role came at a critical moment in my professional career at Dale Carnegie as I looked to realise the talent that I had shown as a Trainer and potential leader of the future. In so many ways, the lessons I learned whilst serving as a community leader resonate/ring true in the business world when it comes to developing talent, not only for my own development but more importantly for the development of others.
The need to develop the next generation of leaders has become more apparent as many of our clients, and indeed the wider business community, are asking how we can engage Millennials more effectively. A distinctive trait of Millennials is that they want more opportunities for promotion much sooner. So, there are some things we can do to help them realise what it takes to go where they want to go and get what they want to get. Here are 5 ideas to think about
Show genuine interest in the talent we have – Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People tells us to ‘become genuinely interested in other people’. Note that the principle starts with the word ‘become’ suggesting that it requires effort on our part to learn about our talented future leaders in order to develop them
Support and encourage talent without judging them or their decisions. Given our own levels of experience, it’s hard not to judge the way they approach assignments through the lenses of our own googles. Give them the latitude to succeed or fail so the depth of development takes place
Delegate Responsibility and Ensure Accountability – we should provide development opportunities to talent to enable the process of sharing responsibility for results. We determine the ultimate objective and the resources available, whilst our talented future leaders share and collaborate on a plan of action. This trains and develops talented, leaders of tomorrow while we establish accountability and maintain control
Be a role model – the development of those we hope will rise to the challenge of being the next generation of leaders is powerful personal example. As leaders, we need to respect and value the differences in our talent and look for opportunities to give powerful recognition and appreciation. Ultimately, it builds trust and we want our leaders of the future to see the value of that trust in building relationships that will ensure their own success.
Build Emotional Resilience & Bouncebackability – the former Premier League Football Manager, Ian Dowie coined the phrase ‘Bouncebackability’ and it captures the need to be emotionally resilient and bounce back from setbacks.
After all, it won’t always be plain sailing, so by helping future leaders identify inefficiencies and commit to good work habits, they become more aware of their own productivity levels and maintain consistent performance standards.