The London 2012 Games were a huge success, not just in terms of the spectacle but in showcasing home grown talent – both in and out of the stadia.

The medal haul was rivalled by the incredible performance of the volunteers and the impressive stadia that welcomed guests from across the world. But what happens now?

It’s an interesting challenge that the world of HR should understand all too well.

What will the legacy of the London 2012 Games look like? What are the next steps that will ensure all the successes of the past month are frameworks for the future?

It’s actually a common challenge for HR teams, because while being tasked with identifying talent for the future is one thing, actually developing that talent and making sure that it delivers in the long term is quite another.

Recently I wrote on HRZone about the most effective ways to spot the talent that exists within the business – the kind of talent that could form the leadership team of tomorrow. So how can HR and leadership teams take the next vital step and develop those with potential for the future? Well, one key way is through sponsorship.

Sponsorship and personal support can play a hugely influential role in transforming managers with potential into leaders. Great managers might show potential to progress, but until someone from the top offers support and champions their progress, these managers will make little headway. Here are two key benefits of this sponsorship approach have been detailed below:

Experience

Drawing on their own climb to the boardroom, today’s leaders can offer an invaluable amount of experience to managers who show great potential for the future. Importantly, it’s the general leadership experience that managers will benefit from the most, as opposed to the job-specific experience. All too often the ‘leadership champions’ are dealt out among the managers within their own department – which misses the point. Leadership is a skill set that transcends professional domains.

Networks

The networks that connect promising managers to influential people within the business are equally crucial in the talent development process. People may have been told how good certain managers are, but when are they going to start believing it? Well, when these ‘great managers’ actually demonstrate their ability. The only way they’ll get to showcase this ability is when the right doors are opened and opportunity is given. Champions of tomorrow’s leaders can plug these promising individuals into the kind of networks that will allow them to show their value and true promise. It’s when these networks expand that the identified talent can start to see a clear path of progression.

How does the talent development process look in your organisation? Some will have designated champions for promising individuals, while others will allow these relationships to develop more organically. Either way, this is the next crucial stage in equipping managers for leadership roles.

The last step is to accurately forecast what the future looks like for these individuals and ensure they know exactly where the twists and turns in the road ahead lie.

Tim Taylor
Making Great Leaders
Latest whitepaper report – Equipping managers for leadership roles: Great Managers 
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