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Published date: July 5, 2017
Last modified: July 5, 2017

Develop people into leaders


Three ways to kick start leadership development

1. Define your leadership principles

These are the leadership traits that you need your people at every level to develop. Even if they don’t necessarily have the desire to become a leader, having these traits will mean that like minded people are working together and reducing conflict.

The key traits are:

  • Vision
    • the ability to look forward in an enlightened and open minded way – to be tactical yet pragmatic
  • Courage
    • to have the courage of your convictions and the bravery to make tough decisions
  • Action-centred
    • the ability to ‘make it happen’ to bring things to a conclusion and to leave no loose ends
  • Communication
    • to be confident and articulate and to simplify complex matters
  • Understand the figures
    • to be finance savvy and to be able to grasp the key performance metrics
  • Positivity
    • to handle bad news in a way the makes people feel as though they are in safe hands, To spot opportunities and to take them.
  • Hard empathy
    • the ability to make people feel important and valued. To know exactly where they fit and what is required.

A good idea is to decide which traits are most important for your organisation and to work on one or two at a time. This of course is not a quick fix, but some effective learning methods ie shadowing, mentoring and collaborative learning resources will help.


2. Developing the leaders of the future

Employees need access to timely development when it is required rather than sheep dip, standard training. This said, if you do create a specific learning programme it’s important to ensure that the approach is business focused so that people are working to solve real issues and adding value as they go.

Of course in many sectors on-job learning or shadowing works better than in others. It’s important that leaders and managers lead by example, displaying the leadership traits that become part of the DNA of the business. These leadership traits should also be added to performance reviews. It is worth establishing how behaviours will be delivered and to work out how you will know this happening consistently.


3.  Invest in a mentoring type opportunity

Encourage employees to find a great mentor: someone who is an inspirational leader who can share knowledge and skills relevant to them. This may take the form of one-to-one mentoring or even in a group environment.

This will not only benefit individuals, but also the organisation as a whole. A recent report from the department of business and innovation and skills has shown that mentoring can result in a 23 % increase in organisational performance.


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