When you take your eye off leadership development it ceases to become a priority in the culture of your organization. If you, as the senior leader don’t keep it front and center then no one else will. I would go so far to say no one else can.
It’s your voice above any other that shapes the values of the organization. What you value you talk about, you measure and build accountability systems to ensure results. So it stands to reason if you’re not talking about leadership development on a regular basis, then that value loses power and dies or at best becomes an aspirational value.
Leadership development requires discipline, discussion, and accountability if it’s going to thrive. The urgent will always have a greater pull than the important. That’s why you must keep development in the forefront of the minds of your leaders.
Here are six questions you should ask your department leaders on a regular basis. And as a bonus, I will include some follow-up questions for each one.
- Who are you developing? FOLLOW UPS: Who could step in and do what you do if you were unexpectedly unable to do your role? What parts of your role are you giving away or sharing on a regular basis?
- How many leaders do you have at each level of your pipeline? FOLLOW UPS: How many do you need? How would you describe the health of your leadership pipeline? How has your leadership bench deepened over the past 4 months? Which level of your pipeline is the strongest? Weakest?
- Who are the new potential leaders that are coming up in your area? FOLLOW UPS: Which of your leaders is mentoring them? To what level are these potential leaders being developed to? Which one’s are you most excited about? Why?
- How many of the leaders in your area are currently reproducing themselves? FOLLOW-UPS: What are you doing to help them in these efforts? What are you doing to celebrate the reproduction of new leaders in your area?
- What is the biggest obstacle you face in seeing a continual reproduction of leaders in your department? FOLLOW-UPS: What resources or support do you need to help you do this more effectively? How can I help?
- What are you doing currently to grow yourself? FOLLOW-UPS: What character or competency do you need to focus on developing over the next few months? How can I help?
It is your discipline of keeping leadership development front and center that will discipline your leaders to keep it front and center
Action Step: Send your key leaders this list of questions and tell them you’d like to discuss their answers within the next week. Then make this a regular discussion every 4 months.