Building a Next-Generation Leadership Team

Joe Weinlick
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As baby boomers retire from the workforce at a frenetic pace, you have to come up with a plan to replace them with people who can step into roles quickly and easily. Your company's leadership team includes talented staff members who likely developed their expertise while working for your company. Examine four ways to rebuild a dwindling team by presenting opportunities to other talented people who work for your organization.

1. Just Start

No matter how much planning you put into building a next-generation leadership team, it's important to remember that there is never a perfect time to start. Your initiative will evolve over time as you work out the bugs. The key is to just start a development initiative.

Creating the program does several things for your company. It generates excitement and interest among employees who recognize that getting a promotion is a real possibility at your firm. The program also shows that your firm is committed to fostering the development of its employees. Your initiative starts the conversation and it becomes a part of the company culture.

2. Talk to Your Current Leadership Team

Discuss stand-out employees with your current leadership team. Instruct your team to leave no stone unturned when searching for developing leaders. Make everyone understand that the development initiative isn't about fast-tracking people into executive-level positions, but more about promoting people from within the company so they earn relevant positions based on their skills and experience. The best leaders aren't necessarily the ones who are outgoing or loquacious. Rather, they are usually the people who work hard and fully understand the industry.

3. Stay Consistent

Keep your program moving forward once you start. Leadership courses and development opportunities should occur regularly rather than sporadically. Instead of an annual leadership summit, try monthly seminars that teach various philosophies of leadership.

Ask your current leadership team to develop each course. The team can provide constant feedback to managers, supervisors and department heads who talk to up-and-coming leaders on a regular basis. Regular feedback helps your program evolve and helps higher-level employees determine which individuals would thrive in certain positions.

4. Maintain People's Attention

You may teach a course in emotional intelligence one year that worked really well. When you teach the course again a year or two later, don't have the same curriculum as you did before. Present new and relevant information to your team. Switch up your teaching style as well. Instructors who vary their teaching methods are more likely to keep their students engaged and interested from the first class to the final session.

There is no such thing as having too many qualified leaders in an organization, since you never know when you may need to replace someone on your leadership team. Have a robust development strategy in place so your next generation of leaders are ready to take the reins at any given time.

Photo courtesy of Ambrose at


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