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How to develop people into leaders

31 July 2015
How to develop people into leaders

The need for 'leaders at all levels' is one of the critical issues facing businesses in 2015, according to Deloitte's Global Human Capital Trends report. Businesses need to invest in building leadership capability at every level - and this includes those people who don't aspire to become leaders.

People 1st has found that by 2022 the hospitality industry will need an additional 66,000 managers, so with that in mind, businesses need to consider what they need to do to ensure that people are able to develop leadership traits and are ready for those roles.

Hospitality businesses in particular employ a large number of young managers. Some 21% of the hospitality and tourism workforce is below 30 years of age, and 55% of those who are managers are new to the role.

This demonstrates that the industry has great opportunities for progression, but it is crucial that new managers have access to development opportunities to gain experience, the right attitudes, skills and knowledge, and these opportunities must be available from the first day an employee joins your company.

Jo Harley is managing director at Purple Cubed

Three ways to kick-start leadership development

Define your leadership principles
These are the leadership traits that you need your people at every level to develop. Even if they don't necessarily have the desire to become a leader, having these traits will mean that like-minded people are working together and reducing conflict. Key traits are:

Vision - the ability to look forward in an enlightened and open-minded way; to be tactical yet pragmatic.
Courage - to have the courage of your convictions and the bravery to make tough decisions.
Action-centred - the ability to 'make it happen'; to bring things to a conclusion and leave no loose ends.
Communication - to be confident and articulate and simplify complex matters.
Understand the numbers - to be finance-savvy and able to grasp key metrics.
Positivity - to handle bad news in a way that makes people feel as though they are in safe hands. To spot opportunities and take them.
Hard empathy - the ability to make people feel important and valued. To know exactly where they fit and what is required.

Decide which traits are most important for your organisation and work on one or two at a time. This will not be a quick fix, but some effective learning methods include shadowing, mentoring and collaborative learning resources.

Developing the leaders of the future
Employees need access to 'just in time' learning when it is required, rather than spend hours in standard training. That said, if you do create a specific learning programme, it's important to ensure the approach is business-focused so people are working to solve real issues and adding value as they go.

Of course, in hospitality, on-the-job learning or shadowing works particularly effectively, so it's therefore important that senior and middle managers lead by example, displaying the leadership traits that become part of the DNA of a business. These leadership traits should also be added to performance reviews. It is worth establishing how the behaviours will be delivered and to work out how you will know this is happening consistently.

Invest in a mentoring scheme
Encourage employees to find a mentor; someone who is an inspirational leader who can share knowledge and skills relevant to them. This could take the form of one-to-one mentoring or even in a group environment.

This will not only benefit individuals, but also the organisation as a whole. A report from the Department for Business Innovation and Skills has shown that mentoring can result in a 23% increase in organisational performance.

Online tools such as Purple Cubed's Talent Toolbox can be used to ensure mentors are properly equipped, to effectively pair up mentees and mentors, and to measure the success of mentoring schemes to ensure a greater return on investment.

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