What is the importance of developing your work force into future leaders?
Leaders are found at all levels of an organization. They are usually very motivated people who step up to the plate and contribute to achieving goals without having to be told or shown how. They are generally unselfish and willing to do ‘whatever it takes.’ They get the big picture and understand how the organization can achieve success. These individuals ‘rise to the top’ and should be recognized and encouraged to develop their personal leadership skills so they can grow professionally to become the leaders of tomorrow. Identifying future leaders and giving them the tools to succeed is an investment in human capital that businesses need to make. These people already know the organization’s systems and norms; they are part and parcel of the organization’s culture. I have found that it is much more effective to grow from within than to start from scratch by bringing in leaders from outside entities.
How would you advise other businesses in identifying and growing leaders within their organizations?
First, one needs to recognize potential leaders and help them expand and apply their skills within the organization. Frequently communicate with them and let them know how much you appreciate their commitment to their work. Get them involved in special or significant projects and offer them opportunities to contribute in ways beyond their individual role.
Let them know of the opportunities that exist through either formal education or on-the-job-training to develop and improve their unique skills. Continue to provide a workplace environment where future leaders can excel and are excited to do their very best.
For example, providing a mentoring and/or coaching opportunity that teams your most effective leaders with those who show promise is a good way to develop leadership from within.
Ralph Aleman is the CEO of Hialeah Hospital, which is a part of Tenet Healthcare Corporation.