The Importance of Developing Your Organization’s Bench Strength
Leadership development can be defined as expanding an individual’s capabilities to effectively carry out leadership behaviors and processes. It’s very critical for organizations to look for talent at all levels. Every key manager and executive within the business should look at current employees that have the potential capabilities to move up and take on a management or leadership role.
One of the reasons I like professional baseball is the robust system in place to develop the next generation of players – the teams understand the importance of identifying talent and developing individuals to help the entire organization be successful. Major League Baseball has a great ‘farm’ system to help their younger players develop the tools and techniques for the physical demands of the job as well as the mental and psychological skills needed to perform on the bigger stage so they’re ready when they are called up to the majors to perform. Some organizations do a better job than others in developing their bench of young and talented employees. It is important that once an organization identifies talent, they work to find a mentor that can help the employee develop their skills, knowledge, and ability to be ready for management or leadership positions when the organization has a need. A mentor should provide informal guidance when needed, and get to know the employee’s strengths and areas of opportunity. ‘Stretch’ assignments can be used to help strengthen the competencies needed for the employee to help them prepare for the challenges they will face in the future. Employee must continually assess their performance and look for ways to improve and extend their skills.
All great players started as young, inexperienced athletes. Somewhere along the way, their potential was identified. With guidance from coaches and mentors, these players cultivated the skills needed to meet challenges and develop their abilities. Organizations that spend time developing a culture that encourages all employees to cultivate their work skills can create an environment where they always be ready for what comes next. As employees grow, mature and develop their skills, they will they be ready to be called ‘up to the majors’ when the organization needs them to perform.
Here are four leadership development techniques that can help develop your bench strength of talented employees.
- Proper and timely feedback – employees should be given feedback to help them improve their performance.
- Skill building – employees should have access to for formal training opportunities to develop both technical and soft skills.
- Conceptual understanding – employees should have guidance to help them develop self-awareness. This will help them recognize both their personal values and future opportunities
- Personal growth – employees should be given stretch assignments to help them safely develop critical skills needed to be ready for next opportunity.