In working towards improving organizations, leadership is the most important resource. It is the engine that pulls the train. A good leader can make a success of a weak business plan, but a poor leader can ruin even the best plan. It is a leader who has a vision, take initiative, influence people, and — most of all — take responsibility. An effective leader is a person who creates an inspiring vision of the future and motivates people to engage with that vision.
Traditionally, leadership development has focused on developing the leadership abilities and attitudes of individuals. Just as people are not all born with the ability or desire to sing like Lata Mangeshkar, similarly not all of us are born with the ability to lead. Different personal traits and characteristics can help or hinder a person's leadership effectiveness and require formalized programs for developing leadership competencies.
A study by Development Dimensions International Inc. (DDI) revealed that established companies will be losing 40 percent or more of their top-level talents as senior executives reach retirement age. This, on its own, wouldn’t be so bad. What makes this a potential crisis is that—thanks to a lack of planning and a lack of people—there’s a severe shortage of qualified replacements.
To date, companies faced with executive retirement have simply recruited experienced leaders from other companies. But stealing talent from the competition is no longer a feasible option. Not only is this costly, but studies conducted by the Centre for Creative Leadership have revealed that a staggering 66 percent of senior managers hired from the outside usually failed within the first 18 months. The smart way for HR professionals to combat the looming leadership crisis is to identify and develop the internal talent needed for key executive position-and start now.
According to Warren-Smith, managing director, DDI, “companies should aim to grow leaders from within. The idea is to help organizations translate their business strategy into their talent strategy. The most important thing about getting your talent management strategy right is to treat it like any other process. The board and the CEO must adopt the idea of growing leaders from with. If there is buy in and direction from the top, the process will be successful," he says.
Companies today need to learn, identify and quantify their talent needs, and the gaps that exist within the system. Once you have defined where you are and where you want to be, it becomes easier to fill up the gaps. There are companies who have adopted 70:20:10 approach to training, which means that 70% of the learning happens on the job through the immediate manager, 20% through coaching and mentoring, and the balance through formal learning.
Now, the next question that comes up is what all companies can do to develop, attract and retain the potential leadership pool?
Some of the steps that can be followed by the companies are:
· Identify Current and Potential Leaders Within the Company: Competency model during performance review can be an effective way to evaluate and identify potential leaders. One of the key advantages of developing leaders internally is that they can achieve productivity, almost 50 percent faster than external candidates. Some of the companies look at this as victory of their succession planning and massive morale booster for the team.
· Identify Leadership Gap: Leadership gap can be foreseen by determining current and future leadership requirement followed by succession planning and developing of leadership pipeline.
· Identify Career Growth for Potential Leaders: If company supports career planning for their employees, they can gain employee retention, engagement and protection of leadership pipeline.
To conclude, we can say that, leadership development is the right understanding that will enhance one’s capacity to lead oneself, others, groups and organizations. A highly motivated and self-directed person can gain great deal of understanding from it. Leadership development program should include a strategy as it is a critical aspect for attaining optimum output from organizational talent pool. All in all, leadership is a philosophy, it’s an attitude and it’s a state of mind which is inherent in each one of us.