How to Train Your Next Generation of Company Leaders
A version of this article was previously published on trainingmag.com
It may seem obvious, but it’s important to remember: the talent you’re hiring today will determine the course of your business in the future. Even you, the reader, were once a rookie that a hiring manager saw promise in. And look at you now!
As you assemble the team that will take your company into the future, it’s important to think ahead and strategize. What seismic trends are affecting your industry in the long-term? What exactly will your future business need in a manager, and how can you instill those attributes now in your up-and-coming workers?
There is no “one size fits all” solution, especially for large employers, whose teams may comprise workers who broadly differ. It will be important to be engaging, motivating, and mentoring to the next generation requires of leaders to get them ready for the challenges of tomorrow.
Let’s take a look at some of the key expectations for future company leaders.
If COVID taught us anything, it provided a once-in-a-lifetime example for the types of extreme challenges leaders need to conquer in trying times. The one thing you can always plan on is change; sometimes extreme, sometimes slow, but always approaching nonetheless. Your future leaders should learn flexibility and agility from the start, trained to never rest on their laurels or ignore problematic developments, but face them head on. It is far more valuable to attempt, fail, and reconsider your approach than to just ignore an issue until it becomes too big to manage.
Nobody is properly motivated by a negative angry boss. A positive attitude can truly set good leaders apart from others. By not only showing their team that cooperation is the key to success, but by also leading by example in your own attitude, you are laying out a path for success to your future operations. A strong captain sets the course for their staff, supports everyday operations, and continues to positively influence the developing leaders who work for them.
Keeping Up with the Latest Industry Tools and Technology
Much like the constant presence of change, there will also always be a steady stream of tools trying to make life easier for leaders doing their best to manage change. The massive shift towards hybrid and work-from-home models has led to a skyrocketing in the popularity of workplace technology. Here at WorkForce, we try to offer tools for all of a major enterprise’s needs, such as:
- Time & Attendance
- Absence & Leave
- Clocking in
- Labor Forecasting
- And so, so much more…check out the full WorkForce Suite here to see the rest
You owe it to yourself, your team, and your company to keep informed on the latest innovations in these technologies. Every business must upgrade sometime, and it can be a major benefit to already be aware of the marketplace in advance, as opposed to trying to catch up on a decade of missed developments.
Invest in Your Frontline Managers
In the turbulence of the global pandemic, frontline managers ascended rapidly in value. These workers were vaulted into difficult situations to make hard decisions on how to best navigate issues of employee safety, government regulation, and keeping operations running in an entirely new paradigm. They became so valued that many suddenly found themselves unexpectedly approached and “head-hunted” by other companies looking to make use of their services to keep their own businesses afloat in such a turbulent time. These events were some of the first indicators that flexibility, agility, and creative problem solving would be of incredible value in short-term management skills.
To set an example and prevent future departures in hard times, start by giving team members like this additional attention and empowering them to make necessary changes they find necessary. These future leaders will need to one day make crucial decisions that positively affect the operations and teams you’ve made them responsible for; they must be allowed to make their own decisions and learn from mistakes, rather than possibly show a lack of trust and prevent them from learning on their own.
Pool Your “Brain Trust” with Peer-to-Peer Communication
The next generation of leaders is increasingly familiar with knowledge sharing through messaging technology. Establishing a peer-to-peer communication avenue among your company’s leaders is a great way to keep your top decision makers working in tandem. Each manager troubleshoots issues daily and creates solutions to problems as they unfold; the ability to share this accumulated knowledge amongst other managers is invaluable to forming successful strategies. Putting these managers in regular contact with each other effectively creates a rolodex of proven solutions to common problems, special employee situations, and unexpected conflicts. Collaboration also creates camaraderie among team members, making them more inclined to pitch in when the company needs it.
Pivoting from a “Project Mindset” to a “Continuous Change Mindset”
In uncertain times, the best way organizations can develop new leaders and their abilities is to expect the unexpected. No strategy should be too rigid to allow for new circumstances; adaptation and agility will be the leadership qualities of the future. From redefining what makes a skill “essential”, to learning what options are best in times of crisis, businesses will need to reflect this fundamental shift in mindset to job candidates and current employees. Encourage your teams to think about their work as adaptable frameworks with sense-and-respond loops rather than projects with a defined start and end.
The future is coming whether we are ready or not. But you don’t need a crystal ball to see the future; many of today’s trends can be analyzed and used to strategize what path your company will need to one day navigate. By planning ahead for future leadership, organizations can map out a proper course today to help their teams navigate troubled times ahead, and maintain a winning workforce for many years to come.
One aspect of modern workforce management sure to remain important in the future is a strong focus on a positive employee experience. Please check out “Making Every Moment Matter”, our guide to improve employee experience in the modern workforce.
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