The modern workforce is more age diverse than ever, with four generations currently in the workforce: Baby Boomers (50s–70s), Gen X (late-30s–40s), Millennials or Gen Y (mid-20s–mid-30s), and Gen Z (young 20s). However, with Baby Boomers leaving the workforce in droves – up to 10,000 per day – companies are facing a leadership gap as they lose valuable knowledge and experience. To address this issue, businesses must create a leadership pipeline of current employees who demonstrate adequate leadership potential.
Here are five tips to selecting and grooming pipeline talent for leadership roles, with a focus on professionals in their 40s.
1. Identify employees with leadership potential
To build a leadership pipeline, department heads should identify Millennial and Gen Z team members who have the potential to become future leaders. While there is no single formula for leadership, managers should have a sense of which employees possess the technical skills required for their roles, as well as the soft skills and motivation necessary to grow into a leadership position.
2. Discuss goals and create development plans
Once potential leaders are identified, set up meetings with them to discuss this new opportunity to grow. If they express interest, discuss their professional goals and work together to create a development plan tailored to their skills, personality, and areas of focus. Make sure the employee understands the skills or key performance indicators (KPIs) they should be working towards first.
3. Provide regular feedback
With development plans in place, schedule regular check-ins with future leaders to discuss their progress, including successes, roadblocks, and questions. These meetings can be held between a department head and employee, through a mentorship program, with a professional coach, or a combination of these options. However, make sure future leaders know they can approach the leadership development team or their direct supervisor when needed.
4. Provide opportunities to grow
Leadership development plans should include KPIs, but future leaders need opportunities to develop new skills to achieve them. Provide them with more responsibilities, such as managing accounts or projects, overseeing a profit and loss (P&L) statement, or supervising interns. Offer guidance and support as they take on new tasks.
5. Foster emotional intelligence
As employees develop new skills and competencies, there may be a lot of hand-holding in the beginning, particularly when working with clients or other team members. Encourage future leaders to find their own solutions and present them, rather than simply asking what current leaders would do. Help them learn to trust their instincts and make decisions quickly and confidently.
By implementing these five steps, businesses should be able to begin building their leadership pipelines and helping their current employees grow into the leaders of tomorrow.