Delivering on the promise of high-potential future leaders

Your high-potential employees have demonstrated promise. But having leadership potential is one thing; applying that potential in a way that creates outcomes consistent with your organization’s highest priorities is another. Many businesses struggle to develop their high-potential employees. In fact, more than 86% of companies worldwide rate developing new leaders as their top talent challenge. Overcoming this challenge can give you a significant competitive advantage in the race to retain top talent. How can your organization bring out the best in its hi-pos?

First, it’s important to highlight the difference between a high-potential employee and a high-performance employee. 

High potential vs high performance employees

Too often, employees are promoted because of their job skills (performance) and not their readiness to lead (potential). High performers are employees who excel in their current roles, meeting or exceeding expectations and contributing to their team’s success. High performance is valued and important, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that an employee has the potential to become a successful leader. For example, a brilliant software engineer may be excellent at problem-solving on the job but may not have the people skills (or the desire) to lead a team of software engineers. On the other hand, high-potential employees not only excel in their current roles but also have the right skills, motivation, and experiences to make them ideal candidates for leadership positions.

When identifying potential, you need to look beyond job-related hard skills to behavior, attitudes, and interpersonal skills. Some of the most important leadership skills to focus on in a post-AI world include:

  • Communication
  • Teamwork
  • Empathy
  • Self-awareness
  • Adaptability 
  • Innovation
  • Creativity 
  • Negotiation
  • Critical thinking 
  • Conflict management

Developing these leadership skills in your high-potential employees helps build a future-ready leadership pipeline. Without adequate preparation, on the other hand, new leaders may struggle in their roles, leading to turnover, low team morale, employee performance issues, and more. Providing high-potential employees with the support and resources they need before and during their leadership tenure not only improves their performance but makes their teams (and the organization as a whole) stronger, more engaged, and more effective.

Make leadership development part of your business strategy

The saying that leaders are born, not made, is only half true. The way we see it, potential is the ‘born’ part. Yet all the potential in the world doesn’t mean a thing if it’s not manifested. Only one thing can truly ensure your employees have the skills and expertise necessary to be great leaders: experience. How do you make it possible for the next generation of leaders to develop the insights and skills that can only come from experience? And how do you help them to become effective at prioritizing and making decisions consistent with your highest priorities?

A series of carefully curated learning journeys can maximize individual readiness for leadership positions that align with your business strategy at all levels. These engagements will ensure that employees have the support and guidance they need to perform in their new roles and motivate them to feel engaged and inspired by their work—which also means they’re more likely to stay.

Each learning journey should be tailorable to individual employee’s unique development objectives and learning preferences and should include opportunities for:

  • Challenges and stretch assignments that force them out of their comfort zones 
  • Focus groups and workshops
  • Self-directed learning allows employees to engage with leadership training at their own pace 
  • Job shadowing across disciplines

By offering numerous experiential learning opportunities that build skills in context, you’ll equip high-potential employees to take on the advanced roles your organization needs to succeed. 

High potential leadership training gets real

The best way to train high-potential future leaders is through realistic, highly interactive, immersive learning experiences that mimic real-world challenges. Blueline’s leadership simulations are designed to give your high-potential leaders the opportunity to uncover insights and build experience in a safe environment. They encompass nearly every strategic challenge imaginable—from talent management to compliance, from ethics to defining and executing a global vision, from dealing with a hybrid workforce to resolving conflict. Contact us today to learn more or schedule a private demonstration for your company.

Try a free leadership development scenario!
Experience the power of scenario-based learning with two leadership development scenarios for 1st and 2nd level leaders:
Resolving ConflictLeading Hybrid Teams
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