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The importance of developing leadership internally

There is an article from GovLeaders.org, a website dedicated to providing news and leadership advice to government managers that, in my opinion, is every bit as applicable to managers and would-be managers in the private sector.

Authors Robert W. Eichinger and Michael M. Lombardo discuss the importance of cultivating leadership from within an organization and that by keeping employees in staff-level jobs for the duration of their careers, organizations are missing out and potentially "wasting future talent."

From the article:
"...the pool of potential leaders for senior management positions is being restricted because women and other minority executives, who have primarily entered organizations via staff positions, are finding it difficult to make it into the senior-potential pool."
Organizations however, need not let this happen. By providing employees with challenging new jobs -- jobs which "teach how to cope with pressure, learn quickly, or deal with balky subordinates," an organization can allow its employees to grow and to learn the fine subtleties of true leadership.

Other recommendations include: offering coursework, providing employees with off-the-job experience (such as leadership roles in community service activities), and assigning employees to leadership positions in both "start-up" and "fix-it" type projects.

The full article outlines 22 ways in which leadership skills can be developed; first among that list is for management to evaluate staff professionals for management potential and intent early on.

By building leadership from within the organization, companies can enjoy the benefits of having an increased pool of leaders for both line and staff functions and an increase in the number of women and minorities making it into senior-level positions. The next article on this website will go into the benefits of the latter in more details.

Read the entire article here.

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