Educating the Next Generation of Leaders

February 27, 2017 Lorraine McKay

The workplace is changing, which means that employees and executives alike need to evolve. As one example, companies are shifting to a “digital mind-set”, meaning we are more comfortable with using digital organizational methods to manage and bring about change. In such a fast-paced environment, it’s essential for organizations to feel confident about developing effective leadership.

For many years Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends report has cited leadership as a key issue. In its 2016 report, leadership comes in at number two on the list, ranking higher in importance than last year’s global survey. In 2016, 57 percent of companies feel leadership is a very important issue, up from 50 percent last year.

What are the challenges?

Implementing a new culture around leadership is far from simple. Twenty-eight percent of respondents Deloitte surveyed report weak or very weak pipelines for developing leadership. The role of leadership in the workplace is becoming increasingly complex as organizations begin to revolve around teams, businesses become more diverse, and more employees of varying ages and experience are entering the workforce.

Only 40 percent of respondents believe that their current leadership programs provide “some” value, while a shocking 24 percent report no value. Despite a ten percent spending increase on corporate leadership programs, the quality of leadership has not improved accordingly.

How can your organization train new leaders effectively?

Organizations need to start educating leaders earlier in their careers, creating teams of people from different generations and with different skill sets. Using competencies is an ideal way to equip today’s leaders to meet tomorrow’s challenges. Competencies, connections between employee behaviours and organizational objectives, support the shift towards a collaborative leadership model. Some key leadership competencies include:

  • Visioning and alignment – Actively shaping and communicating the organizational vision
  • Impact and influence – Influencing and gaining others’ support
  • Thinking strategically – Seeing and synthesizing different sides of an issue, examining the full range of options and outcomes, and building intellectual frameworks

Best practice organizations use these competencies to do the following (and much more!):

  • Use online tools to identify high-potential employees earlier
  • Use mature leaders to mentor the next generation
  • Develop a comprehensive system that can focus training and provide opportunities for younger leaders to gain skills to thrive in leadership roles

Remember, just throwing more money at leadership programs likely won’t do the job. For superior results, spending must be targeted at what works. As the concept of leadership is radically redefined, competencies have emerged as an effective way to identify and develop leadership talent. Today, companies need people who are capable of leading at various levels, as organizations shift from hierarchical to team based systems.

HRSG’s leadership competencies capture the essence of powerful, effective leaders and translate it into measurable and observable behaviours. We can help your organization build and customize your own leadership blueprint based on transformational, business, and personal dimensions.

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About the Author

Lorraine McKay

Lorraine has over 30 years of experience as an Industrial/Organizational Psychologist and HR Professional. She is well known for her experience developing competency-based programs and tools and has been instrumental in building HRSG’s competency management methodology, certification program, and tools.

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