The development of future leaders is another critical responsibility of Human Resources. Sometimes, it is hard to see a difference between the succession planning and the leadership development. The primary objectives are slightly different. The succession planning is focused on job roles in the organization and fitting best suitable employees to them. The leadership development has in the scope all high potential employees in the business. It designs processes and procedures to identify the best people in the class and to give them opportunities to grow in the organization.
The leadership development is a strategic HR process that supports the leadership team in finding best young leaders for challenging projects and potential successors to be included in the succession plans. The L&D specialist manages processes to identify top talents across the organization, develop them, give them challenging opportunities, help to be visible in the business and improve their soft skills.
The leadership development has to be fully aligned with the enterprise strategy. The new leaders will not grow within few months; it takes years to develop a new talented leader of the company. The L&D Manager has to read the business strategy carefully and combine the requirements of the corporate vision with job roles required in the future. The department does not prepare talents for tomorrow; they will be promoted years from now.
Most common goals and objectives of the Leadership Development are:
- identification of new high potentials and market mapping;
- development programs in place and number of participants;
- challenging projects and results delivered by teams;
- visibility of participants;
- success rate and retention.
The goals and objectives are similar to other HR functional areas, but the Leadership Development aims long-term targets. The L&D Specialist usually identifies few new high potential employees each year and carefully selects few to participate in development programs. The number of participants is not crucial, the quality of employees is the key success factor.
The L&D department is responsible for the management of the efficient and honest selection procedures. The leadership team has to feel comfortable with proposed employees to be included in the next run of the development program. It is a very difficult task to accomplish as many managers push their key direct reports. The L&D Specialist has to balance interests of managers, requirements of the business and the development potential of candidates.
The other objective of L&D Department is in the richness of development programs being offered to high potentials. Human Resources cannot run just one generic program for talents. It has to provide more tailored development programs and initiatives to choose from. The L&D Specialist has to design a set of different soft and hard skills development activities. It should not be just a simple in-class training. It has to include challenging projects and the business development opportunities. Most people learn most in difficult situations.
Finally, Human Resources has a simple goal for the leadership development department. They have to promote new leaders. They need to be promoted to challenging job positions. They have to prove their abilities to lead the company in the future.