3 ways to build a leadership pipeline

The demand for talent worldwide means that companies are investing more than ever in developing internal capabilities that can be used to drive further change within a business. As leaders look to build a pipeline of leaders with the potential to create further change in their organisation, this shift is going to require an even greater investment in the next generation of talent.
leadership pipeline
This is especially true when it comes to millennials – currently the youngest workers within an organisation who were born between 1980 and 1995.
According to research from PricewaterhouseCoopers, these workers are looking for new leadership opportunities, and are less likely to stay with a company if they perceive there is a lack of opportunities open to them.

The study found the average length of time a millennial employee will spend with a company is largely determined by the amount of responsibility they are given. Those workers that are granted greater opportunities to further hone their leadership development stay with a company for longer than those who aren’t offered these opportunities.

In fact, millennial staff who are given a level of corporate responsibility will stay with a company for an average of 7.4 years. On the other hand, individuals who aren’t offered this opportunity to expand their skill set will only stay with a company for an average of 6.3 years.

For managers, there is a clear need to develop the right strategies and tools to offer leadership development opportunities to younger staff, especially if they want to achieve a strong pipeline of talent. To help achieve this, here are three steps that organisations can take if they want to build a pipeline of talented workers within their business:

1) Understand the qualities emerging leaders exhibit

The qualities that emerging leaders will exhibit was the topic of a study from Hudson, the worldwide recruitment agency. Among the core skills the study identified were:

•    Strong communication skills;
•    Conceptual thinkers;
•    Independent working styles;
•    Results-focussed.

The report also found differences between the leadership styles of both men and women. Emerging female leaders were more likely to be invested in social relationships, collaborative working and communication. Male leaders on the other hand, were more likely to exhibit skills like big-picture thinking and focussing more on achieving results.

For companies that want to build a talent pipeline that can make a long-term contribution to their business, understanding these hallmarks of a future leader will be an essential first step.

2) Focus on staff with a learning attitude

Some staff are better able to learn than others, with these staff among the most likely to rise within a business. That is the finding of recent research from the University of Missouri.

The study revealed that some staff demonstrate a specific set of skills, especially as they look to achieve a greater range of capabilities within an organisation.

3) Determine which areas will require further training

While there are some core skills that emerging leaders will often possess, Hudson also suggested there were some key deficiencies that organisations would need to consider addressing through further training. For example, the study noted that many emerging leaders will be risk-averse and also use tried-and-tested methods for achieving results.

Finding ways to overcome these biases within both emerging leaders and an established leadership team is therefore an important consideration for companies to consider when they look to further develop their internal talent. For organisations, making these skills a top priority when they construct a talent promotion strategy will be essential for building a well-rounded future leadership team.

Training and leadership development at every level have now become the hallmarks of a successful business. The challenge is now to transfer this commitment to leadership development into practical action that can keep workers, especially millennials, engaged with their work.