Promotion to a position of leadership can be a daunting experience filled with fear of failure. To avoid recruiting external candidates who still need to be inducted and oriented to the way the business operates and to learn and adapt to its culture, organisations need to take the time to prepare staff for leadership roles. They will retain smart employees and save time on having to train and develop new recruits who may take longer to adapt and understand how the business operates.
The best way of developing and retaining potential leaders in your company is to develop leadership development programmes that will fast-track junior managers into positions of responsibility. During the duration of the programme the junior managers must be exposed to what it takes to operate at a strategic level within their organisation. Classroom learning has to be customized to deal with real case studies of the organisation. On the practical side of the learning, training and development they have to take part in real every day problems of the organisation. Feedback should then be offered in on where they performed well and where they should improve.
The skills learnt in this way will define the organisation’s leadership brand and inculcate a high standard of ethics; commitment; develop and retain talent and the ability to apply sound judgment and appropriate leadership styles depending on the ability of the junior manager; a passion for performance; and the ability to develop and communicate clear vision or future direction of the organisation.
 Without taking part in such a programme, it will take a lot longer for these managers to learn the ropes. Without taking part in the programme newly promoted junior managers become apprehensive about what to expect in their new roles because they don’t realise what they don’t know. The stress created by the leadership role for the new untrained manager , in an effort to prove his/her competence, can ultimately incapacitate the appointed leader resulting in failure for the leader, frustration for the team and losses for the organisation.
It is up to leadership to ensure that future leaders are ready and able to take up more challenging positions. Organisations have to develop leadership brands – broad leadership competencies that are important to build a collective leadership experience for all potential leaders within the organisation as well as leadership reputation that would be recognised by external stakeholders. The biggest problem organisations face when promoting people into leadership roles is that those who shine in terms of their technical skills and abilities do not always have what it takes to be leaders. Appointing people to higher positions based primarily on functional skills alone can have negative results for the appointee, the team and the organisation. Often the top scorer in sports team is promoted to a leadership position, only to realise that the very functional skills for which he/she is admired for, are not nearly adequate to lead a team to higher levels of performance or to spearhead a new direction. That is why training and development has to pave the way to any leadership responsibility.
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