So, do you grow your own leaders from within, or hire someone new with – presumably – the leadership skills you need are unable to find inside your organization? What do you tell yourself to justify not developing those skills from within your organization? How about these? See if any sound familiar…
“I don’t have anyone ready to ‘step-up.'”
“Leadership development is expensive.”
“If I train them, they’ll just leave and join the competition.”
Please. I’ve heard them all, and many more just like these. Some are urban myths, some are akin to the business version of “old wives’ tales.” All are dumb. Worse, however, is that some are actually damaging to your organization.
I don’t have anyone ready to step up. Really?? You have no one on your staff, or available to you, who with proper development, coaching, and mentoring could step into a more responsible role?
My first comment is “not likely.” If you really believe that, though, here’s some free advice: Whack ’em all and start over. Simple statistical odds are that some should be ready or capable of becoming ready; if not, our hiring process is so remiss that blowing it up and starting over may be the only option.
It costs too much. Again with the “really??” How much does it cost, in revenue, earnings, and your time, to re-tell, re-advise, re-answer, and re-work? How about the conflicts that apparently only you can resolve? Aren’t you tired of having to make every decision yourself?
What sort of productivity gains are you missing by not having competent and skilled managers and supervisors at all levels of the leadership food chain?
If I train them, they’ll just leave. So then, your choices seem to be either train someone who may eventually leave, or keeping that person without the necessary, relevant knowledge. You’re not seriously weighing this, are you?
Why “grow our own” leaders? In my mind, there are three simple reasons:
- It ensures continuity. Someone who has seen, experienced and “lived” the functional day-to-day may better understand what issues and challenges are significant. Yes, sometimes we need an outsider to provide some new-blood thinking, but not at the expense of continuity and corporate memory.
- It sends a positive message. Advancement opportunities are a big reason that good people stay – including you. Promoting a deserving candidate trumps and external hire 24×7 in that regard.
- They already know, understand, and more importantly fit our culture. Let’s face it — though valuable, skills are a dime a dozen on the open market. They just aren’t that difficult to find (including mine and yours). What’s difficult is finding those skills wrapped up in someone intelligent enough to learn our jobs, and who also fits our current culture.
Except in very unique circumstances, developing current staff to assume future leadership roles always, always, benefits the organization in big ways. Many of you reading this have been promoted into your roles, so you clearly understand the value. We can – we really can – teach and develop the skills necessary to “grow your own,” so keep that in mind before thinking there’s “greener grass” in a newly hired manager…