How to Train Your Next Generation of Company Leaders
A version of this article was previously published on trainingmag.com
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember that the talent you’re hiring today will determine the course of your business in the future. Even you, the reader, were once a rookie a hiring manager saw promise in. And look at you now!
As you assemble the team that will take your company into the future, it’s important to think ahead and strategise. What seismic trends are affecting your industry in the long term? What attributes will your future business need in a manager, and how can you begin to instill them in your up-and-coming workers?
There is no “one size fits all” solution, especially for large employers, whose teams may comprise workers who broadly differ. It will be important to be engaging, motivating and mentoring to the next generation of leaders to get them ready for tomorrow’s challenges.
Let’s look at some key qualities future company leaders can be expected to need.
For all its ills, the pandemic provided a once-in-a-lifetime lesson about the extreme challenges leaders need to conquer in trying times. The one thing you can always plan on is change: sometimes extreme, sometimes slow, but nonetheless inescapable. Your future leaders should be taught flexibility and agility from the start, trained to never rest on their laurels and to face thorny developments head-on. It is far more valuable to attempt, fail and reconsider your approach than to just ignore an issue until it becomes too big to manage.
Nobody is properly motivated by a negative, angry boss. A positive attitude can set good leaders truly apart from others. By showing your team that cooperation is the key to success—and setting the example with your own attitude—you are laying a path for success in your future operations. A strong captain sets the course for their staff, supports everyday operations and continues to positively influence the developing leaders who work for them.
Keeping Up with the Latest Industry Tools and Technology
Much like the constant presence of change, there will also always be a steady stream of new tools meant to make life easier for leaders doing their best to manage change. The massive shift toward hybrid and work-from-home models has led to the skyrocketing popularity of workplace technology. Here at WorkForce Software, we try to offer tools for all a major enterprise’s needs, such as:
- Time and attendance
- Absence and leave
- Clocking in
- Labour forecasting
- And much more—check out the full WorkForce Suite to see the rest
You owe it to yourself, your team and your company to keep informed on the latest innovations in these technologies. Every business must upgrade sometime, and it can be a major benefit to be aware of the marketplace in advance, as opposed to trying to catch up on a decade of missed developments.
Invest in Your Frontline Managers
In the turbulence of the global pandemic, frontline managers rose rapidly in value. These workers were vaulted into difficult situations to make hard decisions on how to best navigate issues of employee safety, government regulation and keeping operations running under an entirely new paradigm. They became so valued that many suddenly found themselves “headhunted” by other companies looking for talent to keep their own businesses afloat in such a turbulent time. These events were some of the first indicators that flexibility, agility and creative problem solving would be of incredible value for short-term management skills.
To set an example and prevent future departures in hard times, start by giving team members with such qualities additional attention and empowering them to enact operational changes they find necessary. These future leaders will need to one day make crucial decisions that positively affect the operations and teams you’ve made them responsible for; show them trust by allowing them to make their own decisions and learn from mistakes.
Pool Your “Brain Trust” with Peer-to-Peer Communication
The next generation of leaders is increasingly familiar with knowledge sharing through messaging technology. Establishing a peer-to-peer communication avenue among your company’s leaders is a great way to keep your top decision makers working in concert. Each manager troubleshoots issues daily and creates solutions to problems as they unfold—the ability to share this accumulated knowledge among other managers is invaluable to forming successful company strategies. Putting these managers in regular contact with each other effectively creates an index of proven solutions to common problems, special employee situations and unexpected conflicts. Collaboration also creates camaraderie among team members, making them more inclined to pitch in when the company needs extra effort.
Pivoting from a “Project Mindset” to a “Continuous Change Mindset”
In uncertain times, the best way organisations can develop new leaders and strengthen their abilities is to expect the unexpected. No strategy should be too rigid to allow for new circumstances; adaptation and agility are the leadership qualities of the future. From redefining what makes a skill essential to learning what options are best in times of crisis, businesses must reflect this fundamental shift in mindset to job candidates and current employees. Encourage your teams to think about their work as adaptable frameworks with sense-and-respond loops rather than projects with a defined start and end.
The future is coming whether we are ready or not. But you don’t need a crystal ball to see the future—many of today’s trends can be analysed and used to strategise which paths your company will need to travel. By planning for future leadership needs, organisations can map out a proper course today to help their teams navigate troubled times ahead and maintain a winning workforce for many years to come.
One aspect of modern workforce management sure to remain important in the future is a strong focus on a positive employee experience. Please check out “Making Every Moment Matter,” our guide to improving employee experience in the modern workforce.
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