Manager's Corner: Leaders: It's your responsibility

Manager's Corner
Leaders: It's your responsibility

Many business owners still believe their Human Resources (HR) department is primarily responsible for developing their respective organization's future leaders. However, the longer business owners keep this limited mindset, the further behind their organizations become. You see, this crucial activity is not primarily HR's responsibility, it's theirs. And that scares the heck out of most business owners.
So, as business owners, if developing our organization's future leaders is our responsibility, how do it? How do we train and develop others to take over for us when we're not trainers, teachers, or magicians? We need to take three major steps:
* First, we must believe in the urgency and necessity in leadership development ourselves or no other managers or employees will.
* Second, we need to create a clear, concise vision and implementation plan for our organization that helps our employees see what our organizations will look like in the future and what its future leaders need to be prepared to do.
* Third, we establish an organization that provides development opportunities for all employees--not just a select few.
How will these three steps work? By becoming personally involved and focused on the development of our organization's future leaders, we not only demonstrate our belief in this by our actions, but more importantly, we also take an active role in determining what skills, projects, and responsibilities need to be developed in, provided to, or given to the up-and-comers within our business. Next, if created properly, the vision will by default touch every department of our organization. Therefore, every department must do something to help attain the vision. If our vision is far-reaching and forward-thinking, every department will be tasked to assert its skills, talents, and energies to new levels to help us reach the vision. When each department starts to understand and plan what it needs to do to help attain the vision, by default, each address staffing, leadership, employee training, project management, and other leadership development and planning issues. We've now set the foundation to have HR work in tandem with every department to develop depth and management and employee skill "bench strength" within, not only every department, but the entire organization.
Finally, instead of focusing on only a few individuals, we create a culture where every employee has the potential to be a candidate for promotion or future openings. Why put all of our hopes and resources into just one or two candidates when they may leave or not develop the skills needed? Why risk demoralizing some staff by focusing only on a select few? Why not create an organization where all employees are constantly developing skills, talent, and leadership potential?
To do this, we create training opportunities that require our employees to do hands-on problem solving, project management, and most importantly--to think for themselves. We create cross-training and mentoring opportunities so our employees learn more about the organization and they learn from each other. And finally, we create an organization where every manager understands that developing others is just as important as getting product out the door, and the managers are held accountable to do so.
Now that you've taken the lead in believing in and developing your next tier of managers and leaders, your organization is positioned to fulfill the vision you've created, with an employee population you've helped develop. Not a bad return for focusing on one of your responsibilities as a business owner that so many others delegate to someone else.

Liz Weber of Weber Business Services, LLC. WBS specializes in Strategic, Business, and Succession Planning, as well as employee and leadership training. Contact: or 717-597-8890.