Who is Leading Your Leaders?

Leanne Adair, Senior Consultant

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One of the key challenges facing organisations throughout 2017 is their leadership capability. During the financial crisis, many CEOs, quite rightly, stripped back their spending and leadership development as it was considered to be a ‘nice to have’.

Fast forward to today and we are now faced with the reality of this lack of investment in our people. Our current leaders are retiring and, due to the lack of focus on succession planning, our organisations have a gaping hole in capability.

As a result, organisations are beginning to look externally. Time and time again we are asked by clients to help them attract mid to senior level managers, who will ideally go on to develop and become future leaders of the business. These are often candidates who are currently operational and are looking to take that first strategic role, enjoying full ownership of their business area.

With the lack of internal development, it is not hard to see why this ‘future leader’ is in short supply. This coupled with the ongoing ‘war for talent’, makes recruiting these individuals extremely difficult and costly. Is it not time to take ownership of our middle management community and develop our own leaders?

It is true that the key to successful long-term talent development is great leadership – however, do our current leaders have the right skillsets and capabilities to develop their successors?

The good news is that for the first time since 2008, the HR community are telling me there is now an increased focus on their people strategy – turning their heads to employee engagement, succession planning and development. However, we are still seeing a lack of organisations utilising internal assessment tools, let alone looking at leadership assessment.

CEOs are increasingly focusing on both people and metrics so why are they not investing in assessments? Talent assessment is the most reliable way of measuring people in order to predict their future ability – it should certainly be seen as a strategic tool than can help drive measured impact.

It is true that some organisations do have robust assessment methods, they know exactly who their top 25 performers are and exactly what behaviours suit their culture. Well, they did, once upon a time.

Many use the same old suppliers and the same old processes, but do the leaders of 10 years ago have the skills and requirements to train the next generation? With the changing landscapes of corporate cultures, skillset requirements and talent expectations, it’s likely they need some help and the assessments methods need to change to reflect this.

Assessing your leadership team is a powerful way of understanding the current capability, what skills are available and what areas require urgent development. They support you in building a comprehensive picture of what drives your employees. It will highlight how in line your employees are with your company’s defined behaviours and values.

In order to secure your talent and future-proof your organisation you need to know how to retain your workforce and understand what motivates them. Utilising the right assessments will help understand your workforce by exploring their aspirations and areas of strength and development.

Assessments can also be a powerful tool in other ways:

  • Supporting employer branding: raising self-awareness and delivering key messages
  • Standardisation: embedding a strong culture and ensuring equality
  • Align the organisation with future strategy: uncover any development areas that will support working towards the end goal during change agendas

6 Group has worked with several multinationals to develop, define and conduct a host of assessments.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss assessment further, please contact: 

Leanne Adair | Senior Consultant | T: +44 (0)161 926 4348 | LeanneAdair@6-group.com

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