Great leaders are hard to come by. It’s been said that almost half of all companies polled in a Global Leadership Survey chose leadership as the hardest of all skills to find in employees. More concerning is that only 36 percent of the respondents cited leadership as a strength in their organizations. It doesn’t matter if you are part of a corporation or one of many startups that are part of the Google launchpad, leadership is key to the success of you and your business.
Expectation vs. Reality
What was discovered from this survey was that many organizations place leadership skills learning responsibility on the employees or current managers/leaders to train their teams. Yet the employers set a high expectation on employees taking development courses, attending leadership skills training events, or even finding mentors to advance their skills and careers.
In short, employees wanting to grow in their careers feel pressured to learn skills that would not typically be compensated by their organization. The big difference in the delivery of skills training and development is in the impact of the Human Resources team onsite to assist with your career growth. Many companies provide learning management software for their employees, this allows existing employees to learn and grow within the company through proprietary software training. E-learning has bloomed into an educational resource for many businesses, and utilizing these training modules to improve the knowledge set of your team is a win-win for everyone.
Enter Human Resources
Finding your path to becoming a better leader with the support of Human Resources fills in the missing piece of the puzzle. HR’s involvement in leadership development moves the organization forward, avoiding stagnant management who are unable to adapt to ever-changing business cycles.
Defining leadership: What does great leadership look like? What are the most important traits to look for? Helping to make you a great leader involves helping you to know what to look for within your team(s). For some, it may be the main focus being on communication and transparency; for others, it may be a leader who is there to pick up the slack when the team is in need.
For this purpose, HR gets everyone on the same page to help define and understand what leadership means within that company or a particular line of business. HR can identify and guide a company toward defining a specific brand of leadership to suit the business culture.
Identifying potential: Similar to defining leadership, HR will help to determine which of your team possesses the right qualities for the role. From its unique vantage point, HR reviews and compares feedback from managers, peers, and clients or customers alike. It can see the skills and strengths (or lack thereof) to qualify those with the potential to take on greater responsibility. This is also the same process used to assist in your leadership goals.
Skills development: Skills alone won’t be enough as they need to be trained on and developed. Many employers fall short here. This is why HR is the right department to lead this program. HR can “see it all”; gaps in skills, facilitating custom leadership programs to meet the organizations’ leadership definition, and have a ready list of employees capable of taking on greater leadership responsibilities.
General support: It is more than just training provided by HR to help in your career growth. HR builds support for leaders like yourself through the recruitment and promotion processes, in addition to performance reviews completed to reinforce positive leadership.
HR helps in leadership considerations where those who deserve a promotion but who are not ready for leadership yet can still be recognized without being placed into a role that they are not yet prepared for. This support process benefits all lines of business company-wide.
When it comes to business success, HR is there to assist in identifying the leadership roles existing within yourself and your teams that will help move the career ahead and which skills require support, be it training or other types of development. HR is there to collaborate with and work alongside you and your teams to bring effective leadership to a higher level within the company.