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Leadership Unleashed: How to Craft Tomorrow’s Top Leadership Talent

As an executive career coach and former HR pro, I finally get to craft two things I love to do into effective ways to identify and nurture the next leaders within an organization: a solid succession plan and leveraging the DISC model.

First having a succession plan in place ahead of time not only allows you to maintain business continuity but will help you identify future leaders throughout the organization ahead of time. This should be a fair and consistent process in partnership with your HR leaders. A succession plan will also promote career development and training which is a key characteristic employee's demand and is a key driver of employee retention and engagement in many organizations.

Employees want a sense of growth and opportunity. They want training and development. A succession plan forces an organization to determine not only who is ready for a leadership role anywhere from 1 - 4 years out, but what specific plans, training and development is needed to get them ready.

Use a DISC model in partnership with how you are developing employees for leadership roles.

By utilizing a DISC model - an assessment that categorizes behavioral styles into four types: Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness - you can assess how each style plays out in a leadership capacity. No style is particularly tailored to successful leadership. Just look to the styles of mainstream CEO’s like Gates, Buffet, Winfrey, or Bezos as examples. Each style has unique strengths and areas for growth, which are critical in understanding leadership potential.

In identifying potential leaders, first observe how individuals perform in team settings. Look for those who naturally take charge (Dominance), are excellent communicators (Influence), show consistent reliability (Steadiness), or pay great attention to detail (Conscientiousness).

Remember, leadership potential can be found in all styles; the key is to recognize how these traits manifest differently.

Here are key activities to develop leaders:

Provide coaching that resonates with their behavioral style. I’d also provide this type of coaching BEFORE they are actually in leadership positions. For example, someone with a high 'Dominance' score may benefit from developing empathy and teamwork skills, while someone high in 'Conscientiousness' might need to work on adaptability and big-picture thinking.
Encourage Self-Awareness: Help them understand their DISC assessment and how it impacts their leadership style. Self-awareness is a crucial leadership skill but first:

Take Stuff Off Thier Plate: Yes, you read that correctly. In order to offer future leaders diverse experiences, provide opportunities for them to lead projects or teams that are outside their comfort zone - we have to move stuff from them first. We've cut, slashed, RIF'd and reorganized our way right into employee burnout. They want more development and engaging opportunities. Not all of Courtney's work because you eliminated her position 6 months ago. This challenges them and helps develop a well-rounded skill set.
Provide Constructive Feedback: I hope I don't have to reiterate that the development of leaders should come with a mentor AND an executive level leader who is a sponsor. Offering regular, specific feedback that acknowledges their strengths and areas for improvement is key for self-awareness, practice, and improvement. A mentor can be a bit more objective and give advice. Whereas as an executive level sponsor can give guidance on the specific and strategic business operations that a leader is truly engaged in. Make sure this feedback aligns with their DISC profile for a greater impact.

Next Steps
I get it: your HR team is overworked, extremely busy, and probably not answering your calls after 4pm (noon if it's Friday). Implementing a succession plan and DISC assessment strategy is no easy feat. Fortunately, AEJ Consulting provides these services. Let's chat about your current state of leadership assessment, employee development, how your "stick to it-tiveness" is currently going and how we can help. Email us today for an early Jan 2024 spot and get your leaders off to a fantastic start in 2024.

Let's chat: info@ayannaejackson

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