How Can I Coach My High-Performers into a More Formal Leadership Role?

Supporting the professional growth of your high-performing individuals is a true win-win situation – especially if it increases the likelihood that they will stay with your organization long-term. Engaging these go-getters takes a little time upfront but can reap tremendous rewards for your department, organization, and their personal development. Read for tips on how to best tap into the potential of these individuals.

Let them know

Is an employee’s talent assessment something they see? Do you tell high-potential employees that they are indeed high potentials? If not, consider it! Employees have a hard time living up to expectations when they have to guess where they stand. In addition to telling someone they are a high-potential, it​ is a good idea to communicate clearly what that actually means in the view of the org​anization and ​you as their leader. Providing explicit details helps prevent misunderstandings and disappointments. For instance, does the designation​ inadvertently imply a guaranteed promotion to the next open management role, or does it signify a promotion within a specified timeframe? When assigning a label to someone, it is essential to ensure clarity ​on what that label communicates​.

Think strategically

What are the growth opportunities inside your department? Your organization? When organizations think about succession planning they often start from the executive level, but at times it is the changes within the front-line staff or middle management that cause the biggest disruption in daily workflow. If you wait until these openings happen before you train staff, the learning curve will be steeper and disruptions may last longer. And as tempting as it might be to hoard your high performers, encourage them to explore other departments within the organization. Remember, it is better to keep a great employee in the larger team than it is to lose them to a different organization completely.

Engage them in stretch assignments

Finally, think about your daily work- what tasks must be done by a leader? Are there portions that can be taught and then delegated to your up-and-coming leaders? Providing an opportunity and structure for stretch assignments can benefit you both. You will help them to develop new skills, showcase their expertise across the organization, and open up your time to focus on further mentorship and development of other rockstars.

Guiding high-performing individuals into formal leadership roles is a strategic investment that pays dividends for both the individual and the organization. Open communication about their potential and involving them in the planning of their professional journey fosters a sense of purpose and commitment. Strategically considering growth opportunities and succession planning within the department ensures a smooth transition when leadership positions become available. Encouraging exploration across departments retains valuable talent within the organization. Lastly, engaging high-performers in stretch assignments not only hones their leadership skills but also frees up time for mentorship, creating a positive cycle of development. By nurturing these future leaders, you not only contribute to the success of your department but also ensure a thriving, dynamic organizational culture for years to come.

We believe leadership matters

FOCUS Training is an interactive leadership development company that has been helping people achieve excellence through understanding and action since 1992.

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Milwaukee, WI 53204