12 Days of Talent: Day 8 – 8 Practices to Develop Your Leaders


8 Practices to Develop Your Leaders

The success of any organization is highly dependent on its leaders. While there is no substitute for choosing the right leaders to begin with, leaders can become more successful through the development of a sound leadership development strategy that utilizes a number of the practices identified below.  Leadership development has been linked as a positive financial driver and a true competitive edge between companies that have strong leadership development programs and to those that do not.

Fresh from the results of The Talent Company’s Pulse on Leadership study, we asked the study’s participants what are the top practices their organization’s use to develop leaders.

Here are the Top 8 organizational practices used to develop leaders:

#8 – Mentorship – Mentorship refers to a professional developmental relationship in which a more experienced or more knowledgeable person helps a less experienced or less knowledgeable person.  For leadership development purposes there is value in leaders or potential leaders being on both sides of a mentoring relationship.  They can gain from the experience and insight from a more experienced leader who is their mentor or develop leadership qualities through being a mentor to a less experienced employee.

#7 – 360-Degree Feedback – Research has consistently shown that 360-degree feedback is one of the most effective tools available for developing leaders. The main benefit is that it develops the essential self-awareness that motivates people to understand and ultimately develop themselves.

#6 – Rotational Assignments – Leaders gain knowledge and skills by learning different roles and/or facets of the organization over a set period of time.  These assignments enhance a leader’s knowledge, accomplishments, reach, impact, and influence across different aspects of their organization.

#5 – Executive Education – These are the academic programs at business schools worldwide for executives, business leaders and managers.  Many of the schools offer customized programs, which are tailored for the leaders within a specific organization.  Customized programs help organizations increase leadership capability by combining the science of business and performance management into specialized programs that enable leaders to develop new knowledge, skills and attitudes.

#4 – Stretch Assignments – The stretch assignment is a project or task given to leaders or potential new leaders which are beyond their current knowledge, skill level and comfort zone.  The stretch assignment challenges leaders by placing them into uncomfortable situations in order to learn and grow.

#3 – Action learning – Action learning involves putting participants into teams and having each team solve a real strategic challenge for their organization. The outcome is typically a recommendation to senior management that is either accepted or rejected. With the right levels of guidance, studies have shown action learning to be one of the most powerful leadership development practices available.

#2 – Executive Coaching – Having a great personal coach can be far more powerful than attending the best training. More and more organizations are making use of personal coaching for leadership development. Key ingredients of a great coach are training, relevant experience and objectivity.

#1 – A combination of all or a few of the leadership development practices identified above – The top organizations recognized for their strong leadership development programs utilize a combination of a number of leadership development practices identified above.


Leadership doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and it can’t be learned overnight. For an organization to be successful at developing their leader, you must approach it as a long-term journey of continuous growth and development.  Stay tuned for more results from The Talent Company’s Pulse on Leadership study.


Simon Parkin is the Practice Leader for Recruitment, Talent and HR Solutions at The Talent Company – www.thetalent.co  Simon is recognized as a global thought leader in the acquisition and management of talent and has successfully transformed the Talent function for organizations of all sizes. Simon works closely with clients to build, develop and innovate their Recruitment, Talent and HR functions. He is a former global leader of Recruitment and Talent for a Fortune 100 company. Simon is a featured speaker at a number of HR and Recruitment conferences across North America and an author of many acclaimed articles on innovative Recruitment, Talent and HR trends and best practices. Simon’s full profile can be found athttp://ca.linkedin.com/in/simonparkin1

For more information on The Talent Company and our 12 Days of Talent project, visit www.thetalent.co

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