Three Tips to Align Performance with Leadership Development

The single biggest way to impact an organization is to focus on leadership development. There is almost no limit to the potential of an organization that recruits good people, raises them up as leaders and continually develops them.” –John Maxwell

As I mentioned in my previous post, companies today face the immense challenge of having their most senior leaders retire. How can they ensure the new generation of workers has the right skills to replace them? With the rampant skills shortages and talent gaps in today’s workforce, companies must look internally to find those top performers and high-potentials who show the promise to be effective leaders.

But simply identifying those talented individuals isn’t enough; you must also provide the training and development that will prepare them to be able to tackle the challenges of the future. If those individuals fail to receive the training to advance their knowledge and experience and pursue their personal and professional goals, they’ll leave your company for an employer who will. While more companies have come to recognize the need to align performance management with leadership development, many are unsure of where to start, as well as the best ways to make that connection.

First and foremost, understand that change won’t happen overnight. As with any other organizational transformation, you need to have a clear plan and work to get managers and employees alike to buy into the alignment strategy. Here are a few tips to get started:

1. Highlight available career paths: Not only will this help to keep your best employees engaged (rather than seek career advancement with another company), but it also sets the stage for continuous learning and improvement. Meeting with high-potentials regularly to discuss the possible career paths – and how they can expand their skills and competencies to reach those goals – is the first step to aligning performance with leadership development. 

2. Establish a mentoring program: As baby boomers retire in larger numbers, the last thing you want is for their knowledge and expertise to go out the door with them. Connecting senior leaders with the next wave of rising stars through mentorships can facilitate knowledge transfer and help close the skills gap.

3. Put development into their own hands: Each of your employees is different; with varying skills levels, competencies and goals. So, why should they receive the same training? Instead, managers should work with each employee one on one to create an appropriate development plan that ensures a unique approach tailored to their individual needs.

Synchronizing performance and leadership development can be challenging. Yet, doing so is necessary to maintain competitive advantage and address current and future leadership gaps. Check out our white paper, “Better Performance Management, Better Training Outcomes,” for more best practices for leadership development. And stay tuned as we publish out Part 2 and Part 3 of the Lead Me series over the month of May.

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