Purposeful Talent Development: Why You Should Develop Leader Success Profiles

line of executives sitting
Jennifer Stangl Photo
Director of Professional Development

2 minutes

This tool can help you meet the learning needs of current and emerging leaders.

In 2012, Jack Zenger found that on average leaders do not receive training until they’ve been leading people for 10 years. 10 years! In the last decade, progress has been made to shrink this gap, but we still see evidence of promotions occurring because of technical skills, not human or leadership skills. To help people succeed in leadership roles, we need to do a better job preparing them. 

Moving from an individual contributor to a manager, supervisor or leader requires transitioning from simply managing yourself and getting things done to managing a team to produce results. A promotion from a middle manager to a strategic leader shifts the focus from results to vision and managing future talent. 

An organization’s goal is to build a pipeline of future leaders, a broad pool of people with potential for future roles. To build this bench, it is important to understand the capabilities needed by leaders at each level of the organization. A leader success profile can help you get there. 

A leader success profile looks at the whole person, providing a picture of individual success and the opportunity to clearly communicate expectations. It outlines the capabilities and behaviors needed in a leadership role, anchoring them to the organizational strategy or values. Creating such a profile connects business strategy with people strategy. Once the profile is established, you can use it to:

  • Guide succession planning efforts for key leadership positions, assessing and developing potential successors within the capabilities and behaviors
  • Build a leadership development program to strengthen current leaders’ skills in alignment with the needed capabilities
  • Identify potential successors
  • Provide people with leadership aspirations a framework for understanding the capabilities needed to succeed, enabling them to drive their own development
  • Assess current and future leaders
  • Create focused development plans in support of future roles
  • Identify interview practices that increase the probability of an individual thriving in the organization because the new practices shift the focus from knowledge and experience to behaviors and help reduce bias
  • Strengthen job descriptions to highlight the needed capabilities and skills

Simon Sinek says that “leadership is not an expertise. Leadership is a constant education.” We know this. Yet sometimes we don’t help prepare people for these positions. We think that because employees are technically proficient, they are ready to lead. Developing individuals within current roles and preparing potentials for future roles requires direction and focus, something that employees look to their organization to provide. How well are you doing this?

Jennifer Stangl is director of professional development at CUES. Contact her to discuss customized team building sessions to build strong relationships and strengthen your team engagement.

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