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Management / Strategy

Prepare your future leaders today

By Kevin Eikenberry
The Kevin Eikenberry Group

I'm often asked by leaders what they can do for their employees to prepare them for supervisory/leadership roles before they get those jobs. And to them I say - congratulations! Most organizations aren’t thinking proactively about helping people before they get promoted. In fact, far too many don’t provide this important support even after they promote people to supervisory and leadership roles.

There are many things that forward thinking organizations can be doing to prepare for tomorrow's leaders. Here is a list of three high impact ideas to get you started...

Give people opportunities – Consider how can you give them a taste of leadership, but with a safety net. Can you empower them in new ways? Have them lead an ad hoc team? Delegate small leadership assignments to them?

Give them a mentor or coach – Consider building a formal mentoring program with the purpose of helping your future leaders grow into leadership roles. (Or if that doesn’t work in your situation, simply encourage them to find themselves a mentor.) A mentor who has led for some period of time - but not necessarily for a long time - can be the perfect person to help another build confidence and competence to lead, when the time comes.

Help them change their perspective - The successful shift to the role of leader requires thinking about the world, and many situations differently. In formal and in informal ways, a mentor can often help potential leaders see this new perspective.
Also, rotational assignments in other departments or business units can help with this. Consider building roundtable discussion groups to bring current leaders in to talk to your future leaders. Or even create book clubs so these folks can discuss concepts they might not have considered before (or even just suggest books for personal reading). The list of options here could go on and on.

Remember, prepare your employees with the keys to successful leadership, right from the start. And while this is just a short list, when you start here, you will be helping your future leaders grow into their prospective roles.


Three key lessons in Coaching

by Kevin Eikenberry
The Kevin Eikenberry Group

As leaders, we are only as good as the people we lead. And even if we have an awesome team, without personal development we won't continue to grow, achieve or reach our full potential. So what's the best way to make the people around us better? Coaching!

Becoming a better coach helps those around us be the best thinkers and the best doers they can be. Read the following and consider which of these three lessons will help you be a better coach this week.

  • Consistency – Successful coaching isn’t something that is done once a year (at the annual review) or even quarterly (because your review process suggests it). For coaching to assist others most in achieving higher results, it must be consistent and ongoing.
  • Relationship matters – Consider this. Wouldn’t you be more open to feedback, suggestion and counsel if it comes from someone you know well? Relationships do matter. I’m not suggesting you must be a ‘best’ friend, but a positive relationship between you and those you coach does make a difference.
  • Ask more than tell - Sometimes coaching is about advice. But coaching is always about helping the other person improve their performance. As a coach then, when you can ask more and better questions, you help the other person discover and decide what they need to do to improve, because the choice and action that improves performance belongs to the person being coached.

No leader does it alone. Help build the skills to develop the potential in others. The team you lead is a reflection and extension of yourself.

The Kevin Eikenberry Group, a professional training, speaking, coaching and consulting team, provides training design and delivery (both classroom and electronic), performance support development, performance coaching, and organizational and leadership development consulting. Visit to learn more.