Millennials have surpassed Generation X as the largest workforce in the United States, and Baby Boomers are retiring at faster rates. As a result, employers are finding they have waited too long before investing in the next generation of leadership! If Millennials are not mentored before they go into senior-level roles, they often will create havoc for employees, customers and business results because they are ill prepared.
Not everyone has the true interest or capability to be an effective leader in your company, regardless of what they tell you (and regardless of their age group). Often, people seek these coveted opportunities for more money, industry prestige, professional power and other personal desires. So it’s important to identify the qualities and experience the company needs before developing future leaders. Being proactive when investing in high-potential Millennials can guarantee a better quality of leadership for the future.
Proactively Prepare Your Future Leaders
Clarify Leadership Skills. What competencies are required in your company to be a great leader? Some companies expect their leaders to have excellent interpersonal skills, while others require a stronger technical or financial focus. Remember, no one can have strong abilities in everything. Be clear what type of experience, skills and interpersonal traits (e.g., behavioral traits, interests and thinking styles) are required. When you provide a clear path and opportunity to develop the required skills, future leaders can excel. Don’t forget to define a secondary path for brilliant technical experts, highly creative individuals and other gifted non-leader-type employees, with appropriate compensation and perks.
Qualified Assessments. Use qualified assessment tools to objectively benchmark the qualities you need. Then, compare with the employees’ traits, current skills, abilities and willingness. These tools also provide coaching, leadership perspectives and 360-degree feedback information for your managers and top-level executives to help develop and mentor their potential successors with laser-like precision.
Close the Gap. Waiting until the day a position opens up to develop a future leader prevents the company from having someone ready to assume the job responsibilities and be effective. This is why potential leaders fail. Select high-potentials to lead projects for the company now. Encourage them to take on trade association board and committee work. Hire an external coach for them, and select an internal mentor. All of these actions will prepare fast-track Millennials by uncovering their blind spots, developing their effectiveness and teaching them the unwritten characteristics of good leaders.
Coachability. Offering regular and meaningful feedback is critical. Many will not ask for it, and may be unaware of how to handle feedback. Be clear … if the person is not coachable, it’s time to reevaluate whether or not they will make a good leader in your company. Some may do well in their current position but may not have the emotional intelligence or ability to work well with others, execute projects or programs to achieve intended results, etc. Promoting people beyond their capabilities and interests can be one of the most expensive lessons a company experiences. And, it’s preventable.
It’s time for companies to get serious about readying Millennials for future leadership roles now. They will be happier, and so will you!
©Jeannette Seibly, 2017
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Jeannette Seibly has been a business advisor and executive coach for over 24 years; along the way, she’s guided the creation of three millionaires. She is laser sharp at identifying the leverage points that will take a business and its team to the next level of performance and success. Check out her website, or contact Jeannette for a free confidential conversation.