Developing your bench
Last week’s issue: Behaviours over Numbers
Today at a Glance:
Is your leadership bench healthy
Identifying your talent
What things could you focus on to develop your bench
Practice with your aspiring leaders
Steven Barlett’s 33 lessons of life and business
If you’ve not already begun investing in future leaders before they get the role then you’re already miles behind.
Your leadership bench is an extremely valuable asset.
Invest in it early and often.
That is your next generation of leaders coming through.
The less work you do now, the more work you’ll have to do when they promote and are doing the role full-time.
Here are some things I focus on:
1/ Identify your talent - this should be a continuous focus and observation. If a Supervisor left tomorrow who is stepping up? A team lead, an individual contributor, another employee? What is your succession plan?
The talent you identify should be your gold standard employee and performing well within their current role. Be intentional about knowing who is on the bench.
This comes down to 2 areas
i) Aspiring leaders - these are team members who know exactly what they want to do next and have spoken up. You open up a Supervisor role, they’re applying.
ii) Untapped talent - there will be individuals in your group who are a better investment than i). Identify that talent and open up conversations. They may have never given it some thought but have demonstrated great leadership skills in their individual contributor work.
2/ Develop your talent with a plan - once you have individuals on your radar, get them on a plan and set goals.
What could be on the plan?
Core competencies and skills for the role they’re working towards. e.g. supervisor
Short and long term goals
Action items and tasks to increase their exposure
Stretch responsibilities which supervisors usually take care
3/ Mentoring - your perspective is not enough, assign any aspiring leaders a mentor. This could be someone doing the supervisor role today or another leader. Someone who can contribute and help them level up.
4/ Practice - think about some of the critical aspects of the role you’re developing them for.
Start to think about how you get them exposure in those areas.
7 things I have on my list:
Critical thinking - do regular role plays where you hit them with 10-15 example scenarios of a day in the life of a leader, how do they handle the examples and what decisions do they make? Coach them and align them on expectations.
Relationships - hopefully they get this by now, but encourage them to be building BIG relationships with their team and peers across the business. No relationship = no trust.
Coaching - reduce the answers and focus more on questions. Asking them good questions elevates their thinking and challenges their blockers. It also encourages self-sufficiency so they can solve problems on their own without you being there.
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