4 Tips for Creating a Development Strategy for Transitioning Leaders

May 13, 2021
| Posted by
Jeff
Seeley

A recent leadership study found that too many organizations are taking a "do it yourself" approach to leadership development, emphasizing generic self-study resources. But people stepping into a managerial role are likely to fail without coaching and personalized learning experiences to overcome the challenges brought on by the transition. Additionally, 55% of CEOs say that developing the next generation of leaders is their top challenge, and companies can fill only 47% of leadership roles.

The Global Leadership Forecast 2021, the most expansive leadership research project of its kind, stated, "As companies focused mainly on survival during the pandemic, many largely ignored their succession and high-potential programs and their ability to build new leaders fell behind." Developing new leaders and finding and upskilling current leaders with the potential to grow is key to future success.

Organizations in every industry and sector can quickly improve the abilities of new managers by offering comprehensive, long-term, and targeted leadership training opportunities from the earliest stages of employees' tenures. With swift delivery of learning programs and a focus on consistent measurements, companies will be better positioned to manage the complexities of today's market.

All in the Transition

Becoming a manager is not the most natural possibility for all employees, and this stage in professional development can be highly stressful for the average young staff member. However, when establishing a strategy to prepare new managers for their responsibilities, executives should keep these four considerations in mind:

  • Awareness Through Assessment. To improve employees' ability to lead, companies first need to identify their specific strengths, weaknesses, and management styles. The previously mentioned leadership study found that leaders expressed a strong desire for assessment to help them pinpoint their developmental areas. Therefore, leadership development assessments should occur as early on as possible, as these evaluations will help identify what types of lessons a manager needs to succeed in his or her new position. These assessments will strengthen the manager's awareness of his or her strengths while simultaneously serving as a firm foundation for training strategies.
  • Interpersonal Skill Training. Leaders need to wear many hats and handle a variety of challenges daily. As such, businesses should always incorporate soft skills training into leadership development programs and focus on improving these capabilities during the transition period. When a manager can clearly communicate with employees, problem-solve, and think critically, he or she will be better positioned to facilitate performance improvement.
  • Agility. Leadership development programs will need to be agile and flexible to ensure that the content and activities are relevant to each participant. Creating frameworks that can be adjusted to fit the needs of an increasingly diverse workforce will improve performance over time.
  • Timeliness. Managers who transition into leadership roles before being trained will often form bad habits. Organizations can avoid these issues by delivering training programs as early on as possible, such as when an employee is first earmarked for a potential leadership role.

As younger generations and new faces step into leadership, significant changes are looming. By creating leadership development programs that specifically focus on the process of transitioning to a supervisory role, managers will be better prepared to embrace uncertainty, overcome challenges, and succeed in their new roles.