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How top companies breed top-notch leaders with talent development

Leaders are in short supply these days, it seems. With 10,000 baby boomers retiring daily, organizations are taking note of the fact that they can’t always snatch up experienced leaders from outside the organization. They’re developing their own leaders. While the statistics say that most companies have a long way to go, there are quite a few organizations that have highly advanced programs and policies focusing on leaders. General Electric, IBM and General Mills top the list from the United States.

Here are some best practices from Aon Hewitt, which surveyed and analyzed 180 organizations about their leadership and talent practices . The top companies for leaders do the following, and here’s why:

  • Assess leaders: organizations need to know the unique needs, strengths and weaknesses of their people in order to effectively develop them. Without analytical and objective data, its hard to know where to start with leader development. Do you know what your organization needs, leader development wise? Analytics from assessment, whether behavioral, cognitive or other skills, will greatly aid the investigation all organizations must do before investing in leadership development.
  • Build self-awareness: leaders who know their own strengths & weaknesses with data gleaned from a 360 degree survey and behavioral assessment tools will be better able to grow. Do your leaders know how they affect other people? 
  • Build resilient leaders: the ability to thrive in different cultures is an asset in today’s uncertain landscape. Leaders who can lead in those different environments will be more valuable. Do you rotate your leaders and expose them to different situations? Stretch assignments (where leaders are stretched beyond their current capacities to help them grow and develop new competencies),  can be particularly helpful when strengthening leaders.
  • Choose and build engaging leaders: the leaders who connect with and engage their employees will improve retention and performance. Are your leaders encouraged to motivate their reports? Building awareness of reports’ motivating needs through training, such as the Predictive Index Management Workshop, will equip leaders with insights to customize and improve their interactions with employees.
  • Use nimble, sustainable talent programs: in a quickly changing global landscape, talent programs must be able to be cascaded across the globe in response. Can your talent programs be adapted quickly, in response to changes? Will the right people be ready when they’re needed? Being proactive with talent management will permit your organization to react to market changes. 

The companies that are leaders in developing leaders are quickly finding a competitive advantage through these best practices. Whether you’re trying to develop yourself as a leader or improve the leaders in your organization, take note of these practices and answer these questions to get on track for better leadership.


Post by Jeanne Ward.


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