“Leaders are born, not made” is a widely popular saying since centuries. The Great Man theory states that the foundation of Leadership comes from people who inherit certain qualities and traits that make them better than others at Leadership. But does this stand true in today’s age? Leaders today are more pragmatic and realistic, without shying away from breaking a few rules if required.
Unlike the saying, today’s individuals can definitely be moulded with the right expertise to become Leaders of tomorrow. Companies need to make conscious efforts to prepare the current and future leaders so that they are ready to tackle the challenges of today and the unforeseen ones of the future. The last 5 years have seen an exponential boom with companies and processes being converted digitally and moving at a speed that companies are finding hard to adjust to. Companies have thus, taken steps that help an individual grow in his own right and the sum of those accumulated experiences can make him an able and well-endowed leader.
Changing Leadership trends
Promotion of young leaders: The earlier trends of promoting seniority have significantly reduced with the induction of merit-based promotion. With the Millennials joining the workforce, it can be said that they will constitute the majority of the workforce in 2020. The millennials with their command over technology and fast working pace, are being given the right forms of training that will build them into charismatic leaders of tomorrow.
Encouraging women leaders: It has been observed that companies with a female leader can progress at a much faster rate than those who don’t. A recent report by The Peterson Institute for International Economics has found that women leaders can add more than 1% to the net margin compared to companies with men at their forefront. Researchers are yet to find out the core reason behind this.
Domain specialist: Earlier companies appointed managers that have previously worked in other companies. In recent years, this trend has been replaced with training domain specialists working within their organization and grooming them to be future managers and leaders of the company. To achieve this, companies invest in them by training them under a specified mentor, making them a part of a development plan and following their progress to make sure they succeed.
Challenges faced in leadership development
Talent shortage: A recent report by Mercer|Mettl states that almost 80% of companies in India are suffering from a shortage of talent for leadership. This is happening since senior members who’ve remained leaders for years, are retiring from their positions whereas the newer generation believes in job-hopping every few years for a better pay or work environment.
Lack of support from senior management: For any decision taken in the interest of the company to succeed requires the support of the senior or core management before it is passed and implemented within the company. Under such circumstances, however, some members put their interest over the company’s which leads to lack of support and a hindrance in the progress that could have been. Leadership too requires the support of the senior management in order to mentor and guide the future leaders which cannot be accomplished when there is a lack of support from them.
Developing emotional intelligence in leaders: Nowadays, it has become imperative to have leaders that are high on Emotional Intelligence (EQ) since this quality can help a leader to be intuitive, dynamic and grounded to be flexible at work. Studies have shown that a lack of this can lead to dissatisfied employees and de-motivation to work since their emotional needs remain unfulfilled.
Not enough challenging roles: At times, it so happens that employees may feel incompetent when they are not given work as per their skills or capabilities. Not feeling challenged at the workplace can lead to dissatisfaction and thus opting out of the said company to pursue other opportunities that will help him develop himself. Companies have now begun managing this by providing ample opportunities where the employee gets to display their skills as well as voice out their views breaking the hierarchy code that traditional offices generally adhere to.
Actions needed to be taken for leadership development
Digitization is turning out to be the way to go for most companies and leaders of today as well as tomorrow need to prepare themselves for the changes to come their way. As the senior management of any organization, it is important that you spot the potential future leaders working amongst you. Once done, create a plan that includes the practices that you will follow to imbibe discipline in them and to bring out their best in future endeavors.
It could prove beneficial if you provide them with learning resources such as training and development to ace every obstacle that may come their way. It also helps them to stay updated in their fields current happenings As a mentor, it is crucial that you are in sync with their process and any glitches that come their way are resolved on time with the best possible solution.
Developing in-house leadership than hiring has proved beneficial to many companies. Domain specialists have an in-depth knowledge of the workings of their field and because they have done the groundwork themselves, they are the best choice to become future leaders of the organization. Their expertise at being an executive and tackling problems at all levels makes them the perfect candidate.
“When companies provide domain experts with the necessary interventions to take on general management roles, it prepares them for greater success and far more effective leadership,” says Debabrat Mishra, Partner and Lead- Innovation and Alliances at Deloitte Consulting India.
Leaders of tomorrow need grooming which in a way is a task for the organization but it is essential and something that companies need to invest in, in order to succeed and have great leaders leading them to higher successes. When companies maintain their own homegrown leaders that are qualified and zealous in their nature, they can overcome issues such as succession in the future. Making sure that potential candidates are groomed early for a better tomorrow, maximizing on their strengths can help you achieve an edge over your competitors in the market.