Preparing Employees to Take On a Leadership Role

December 4, 2017

Leadership development

Are you developing a pipeline of leaders in your organization? The best leaders know that it is critical to train new leaders to ensure the organization’s alignment and continuity. They take the time to develop employees and help grow their leadership potential.

The first step is determining who is ready to lead. According to the AMA program Preparing for Leadership, one way to start is by asking the following key questions about employees:

  • Can they do the technical part of the job?
  • Do they have good management skills?
  • Have they demonstrated they can build good relationships and teams?
  • Do they have the interest and ambition to be a leader?
  • Do they exercise good judgment in difficult situations?
  • Can they get results?
  • Are they trustworthy?

Supporting the growth of new leaders

Once you’ve assessed an employee’s leadership potential, you can help the new leader grow in the role by:

  • Establishing clear expectations
  • Giving feedback on performance and progress
  • Coaching the employee
  • Giving him or her visibility
  • Delegating authority when the person is ready for it
  • Sending him or her to training
  • Taking the employee with you to meetings and important events

As you prepare people for leadership, remember that a well-rounded leader has the following skills:

  • Supervisory leadership skills such as performance management, motivation, coaching techniques, team building, interpersonal communication, and emotional intelligence
  • Managerial leadership skills such as communication, planning and change management, adult learning, training and facilitation, group dynamics, and human resources development
  • Executive leadership skills such as visioning, forecasting, organizational behavior and development, strategic planning and change management, mentoring, succession management, public relations, investor and community relations, and negotiation strategies

New leaders need to learn new skills and new ways of interacting and behaving. As they grow into their role, they must continually add to their leadership skills and competencies. Some of this learning takes place on the job, with their managers, coaches, and mentors. Some skills can be learned by taking classes or through online leadership training.

The leadership journey takes place over years of gaining experience and practicing skills. While employees may never reach the executive level, it’s still in the best interest of every organization to prepare new leaders as they take the first step on this journey.

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About The Author

American Management Association is a world leader in professional development, advancing the skills of individuals to drive business success. AMA’s approach to improving performance combines experiential learning—“learning through doing”—with opportunities for ongoing professional growth at every step of one’s career journey. AMA supports the goals of individuals and organizations through a complete range of products and services, including seminars, Webcasts and podcasts, conferences, corporate and government solutions, business books and research.


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