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Focusing on Leadership Will Boost the Business and Your Career

Companies need to improve how they identify and develop leaders; HR teams that get this right will help their company, their function, and their career

Almost anyone working in global business agrees that getting talent management right is crucial to the success of any corporate strategy. But it’s still far too common for an HR head to be seen as someone who keeps the wheels turning; who brings new hires into a firm, promotes the ones that deserve it, and deals with those who want to leave, all as efficiently as possible.

This misunderstanding of the value of HR is especially frustrating when it comes to hiring, managing, and developing people in leadership roles. CEOs are frustrated with their current – and future – leadership talent: only one-in-five leadership programs deliver the capabilities organizations need and only 27% of leaders are actually equipped for the future, according to CEB data.

From time to time, everyone has a big career moment. Times when there is an opportunity to change things. It usually means putting our necks on the line – because anything that changes the status quo doesn’t come without risk.

And HR leaders have that opportunity right now. Those that improve the way their company identifies and develops leaders will provide a tangible return that will make anyone sit up and notice, and that could be rocket fuel for their next career move.

Four Ways to Improve the Quality of Leaders

There are four things that HR teams can do now to fix that problem. Done properly, it will put you – and your function – on the map.

  1. Transform your leadership programs: Use leadership programs to develop leaders that encourage “one company” results, where everyone thinks and acts in the best interests of the whole business.

    These “enterprise leaders,” who take from, and give to, their peers; who push – and pull – team contributions; and who facilitate, rather than direct, team performance can boost revenue growth by up to 12%.

  2. Prove your leadership development impact: Measure the ROI of your leadership development efforts. Despite 67% of executives being unhappy with metrics, it’s not as hard as you might think.

    There are three approaches that can be used effectively – without draining time or resources – to measure the impact of leadership programs on learning, the application of that learning, job performance and, ultimately, business outcomes.

  3. Predict your next generation of leaders more accurately: Overcome three pitfalls common to high-potential programs.

    These are: investing in the wrong people, not measuring their impact in areas such as engagement or promotions, and failing to turn employee potential into business success.

  4. Develop them properly: Develop your future leaders by focusing as much on how your high-potential employees (HIPOs) learn as on what they learn.

    Giving HIPOs relevant on-the-job experiences that stretch them, and action plans that embed practice, reflection and feedback, leads to an improvement in performance by up to 30%.

By redefining how your company thinks about leadership and develops leaders, HR professionals can build a strong personal legacy. They can also make sure that their talent decisions will meet business needs today, and boost business performance tomorrow.

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