By Jim Wong, CPA | September 6, 2017

“The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership” – Harvey S. Firestone

Leaders are developed with the guidance and encouragement of other leaders. A key ingredient in this role is investing time and quality effort into the next generation of business leaders. In order to have a team of leaders, a company must understand how to seek and develop these strengths within their internal performers.

It’s true that the key to building a leadership team is to possess a handful of in-house talent. Leaders who come from within have the ability to use a distinct form of knowledge that comes from learning and growing with the company. However, investing a long-term strategy to build these in-house leaders is imperative to paving the way for the future of your business.

I came across an article the other day by that talks about steps to building a team of leaders within a company. I wanted to share some of the information from the article along with a few tips of my own. Take a look at the 4 Steps to Building a Team of Leaders through a development program below.

1. Commit to the start.
Beginning a leadership development program can be intimidating and a little frustrating because you want to give the best lessons possible. You may feel the need to carefully plan out each lesson before taking a step, but don’t plan too hard. Sometimes the anticipation of planning is far more nerve-racking than the lesson itself. So, take a breath and believe that you are on the right track. Your program will not be perfect in the timing, curriculum, format or selection process for eligibility, but it doesn’t have to be. A great leadership development program will already spark excitement, intrigue, and an accelerated culture in the office from knowing that promoting from within is not only a possibility, but it is a goal.

2. Be consistent and precise. 
Many companies will schedule random annual leadership meetings hosted by external guest speakers, which can be healthy and insightful. The messages given from outside influencers, however, can be inconsistent with the company’s philosophy and create an overall unparalleled message for the team. For this reason, it is important to incorporate the company’s vision and values on leadership in a developmental program, rather than a handful of guest speakers throughout the year.

3. Look within your team. 
A leadership development program should not be a guaranteed seat in the executive circle. Rather, it should be an opportunity for members to learn and grow while gaining qualifications for potential promotions in the future. With that being said, there are obvious choices to enroll in the program such as the outgoing and charismatic all-star worker, but don’t put the quiet or thoughtful people who have leadership potential to the side. This is an opportunity for various performers to build their leadership skills for the future, not determine who already possesses them. The best sources to assist with this decision-making process is typically the team leaders. They can identify individuals on their own teams with high potential who are suitable and interested in the program.

4. Spark innovation and creativity.
After you have chosen the participants for the program, it is time focus on the curriculum. Be mindful of coaching your team based off the likeness of management values and philosophy of the company. Although the criteria may be the similar, the learning style should always be innovative and exciting. By keeping the lessons diverse, you will be able to engage with all participants and have a higher chance of reaching everyone. Different forms of teaching include lectures, hands-on lessons, group-work and even one-on-one discussions to appeal to all types of learners. Another helpful tool in building leaders is to assign homework, suggest outside reading and encourage the team to seek influence outside of the office. Through these practices you will help your future leaders excel in collaboration and grow their knowledge for years to come.

What are some other tips for building a team of leaders? Comment below and let us know!

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