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Succession Planning: Finding Your Next Generation of Leaders

Beth Thornton

October 3, 2019

A common challenge for organizations is how to develop their next generation of leadership. Just as you would invest in tools to improve your organization’s sales, project management, or customer relationships, so too should you have a succession plan in place for the future of your leadership. Developing leaders is a business investment. Its yields come in the form of higher levels of engagement, productivity — and finally profits. Yet, organizations often struggle with the challenge of effectively identifying and developing new leaders.

Preparing Your Next Generation of Leaders

The Millennial generation makes up the majority of the immediate future of your leadership, and 87% of Millennials say development opportunities are important in a job — they’re ready to move into leadership roles. Even if you don’t think you need to find a replacement right now, preparing employees to take over an important position in your company provides you with a wide pool of talent from which your future leaders can be selected. Leadership theory is something that you can instill throughout your organization, and it sets a precedent at all levels that leadership is a character trait, not just a professional role. By instilling such a philosophy, organizations can build a more practical, long-term approach to developing leaders and talent throughout the organization, rather than plucking them individually on an as-needed basis.

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So, how do you identify those who are ideally suited to be the next generation of leaders? Start by looking for your most engaged workers. Employee engagement signals dedication to both their work and the organization. These are the individuals who will support your business objectives and motivate others along the way. Your future leaders should:

  • Listen well and pay attention to team needs
  • Be a team player who is also willing to take the lead when necessary
  • Be assertive when they believe in what they’re doing
  • Know how to problem-solve on their own
  • Be open to feedback and provide feedback and recognition to others
  • Constantly look for ways to improve or grow

Bonus Content: Download the Inspire Succession Planning Infographic

How Continuous Conversation Makes It Possible

One-to-one conversations are an effective method for developing employees into positions of leadership. They foster a growth mindset, and connect individuals to the organization’s mission, vision, values, and strategies through guided conversations. Employees feel like both their manager and their employer are invested in their growth, prepared to provide the opportunities necessary to do so, and demonstrate a concern for what the employee does next. Instead of emphasizing only the bottom line, having discussions about how an individual contributes to the bottom line communicates that they’re more than just a cog in the machine — they are an important part of achieving the company’s objectives.

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High quality, continuous one-to-one conversations can accomplish:

  • Intentional, performance-based conversations with demonstrable outcomes
  • Discussion of career goals, future ambitions, and trajectory desires
  • Stronger manager-to-employee relationships
  • More timely and accurate assessment of SMART goals and OKR progress
  • Timely assessment of ability and achievement, and the agility to pivot as needed
  • Impacting motivation and energy levels as employees pursue their goals
  • Open and honest communication for productive conversations
  • Adapting to team needs in real-time
  • Achieving desired results in an optimal manner
  • A stronger relationship between a manager and the individuals on their team

At Inspire Software, we’re helping businesses build strong leadership that motivates employees and builds a strong company culture where employees want to come to, stay, and thrive.Leadership Genius, the leadership language and practices available in Inspire Software’s Essentials Plus offering facilitates conversations that foster growth and instill company values into your future leaders. We’d love to tell you more about the ways we can inspire your company to identify and develop leaders who can contribute to both the bottom line and the overall culture.