As an organisation grows, there is a temptation amongst employers to recruit talent from outside of their company, instead of training existing employees within their team. There is an old adage that still holds true; employ the attitude, train the skill.

No one understands an organisation quite like the people that work within it. They understand the culture, the ambition and importantly, their colleagues.


However, when looking for new leaders at every level, the first choice of many employers is to look elsewhere, appointing recruitment agencies to help locate experienced individuals. According to Ray King, Managing Director at Leadership Management International UK:

Unfortunately, many organisations do not help their employees discover the untapped potential within and, instead of encouraging leadership development, they select what appear to be tried and tested individuals from outside the organisation, often the sector.

Not only is this a costly way of running your organisation, but it can also damage the confidence and self-esteem of your existing team, creating staff retention issues, as individuals look elsewhere for an opportunity to prove themselves.

Developing leaders and managers

Leaders and managers have the unique potential to serve as an energising, persuasive force within an organisation, so it is important that you constantly look to develop those employees that show promise.

When someone is appointed to a position of seniority it usually means their experience reveals strong evidence of an ability to positively influence people in their work lives and process that development for the greater good of the organisation.

The aim of both managers and leaders is to accomplish the goals of their organisation. Managers do it through plans and processes, directing.

Professional leaders lead by mobilising people around a compelling vision of the future; inspiring them to follow in their leader’s footsteps. They show people what’s possible and motivate them to make ideas real.

These leaders will energise and focus people in ways which fulfil their dreams, give them a sense of purpose and leave them with a profound sense of accomplishment when the work is done.

Unfortunately, many organisations do not help their employees discover the untapped potential within, and instead of encouraging leadership development, they select what appear to be tried and tested individuals from outside the organisation, often the sector.

Strategic development and leadership

Strategic development is concerned with developing leaders who, in turn, empower their people to use their untapped talents and abilities. These skills are then employed in supporting the identified, key areas which an organisation should focus on in order to reach the next level of success.

For strategic development to provide effective solutions and measurable results you should:

+ Value relationships over results.

+ Recognise that you have income to generate and demonstrate the value you place on your workers in achieving this. Many young professionals can feel detached, that their bosses don’t care, and that they are just there to make up the numbers.

+ Offer harsh explanations in light of high expectations.

+ Giving feedback, even difficult feedback, works well when you position it in light of high expectations. They won’t feel vulnerable, they’ll feel like an achiever. You’re simply saying: I believe you’re better than this. + Invest in the importance of soft skills.

+ To harbour fundamental skills like eye contact, a positive attitude, communication, and collaboration in workers means managing as well as mentoring them. You have to invest in people. Instead of just giving them a task to complete, give them your time, be available for conversations, demonstrate your willingness to help.

+ Cultivate understanding and support.

+ The first and perhaps most important piece of the jigsaw is to better understand who your workers are; what drives them, what are their fears, their hopes, what do they want from life, what can they live without?

To summarise…

+ As a professional organisation you have a duty to train and develop your staff. This means offering support, and helping individuals realise their true leadership potential, working to build the future leaders of your business.

+ Although it may be tempting to recruit an experienced individual from outside of the business, doing so can stop the natural progression and growth of your existing employees, who may feel they have been unfairly treated given their commitment to the organisation.

+ Promote a culture of peer development within your organisation and reap the benefits of trusting your employees to thrive in more senior positions.


By Ray King – Leadership Management International UK

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