There simply isn’t enough time in the day to develop future leaders. Lets all face reality. Developing future leaders is time consuming, and resource draining. We have a business to run. We have bosses that count on use to achieve department and corporate goals.

Is there more though? Consider this, your title may be “Manager”, or “Supervisor”, maybe “Department Head”. Regardless of your official title, if your required to give your group or department direction, guide them to achieving goals, you are in fact a “Leader”.  As leaders. We are called to develop those we lead. We are not to be simply bosses, directors, task assigning guru’s. A true leader develops leaders. Forget your job description, most don’t point this fact out, or they skate lightly over it in vague ways.

Ask yourself this. When my company needs to replace, or add a leader, where do they typically find that leader? Too many times, I see companies looking outside the organization, or worse yet, promoting someone who is best at a specific task. Why is that? Why do we look outside our own walls to find the next leader, or promote the best sales person to lead our sales team, despite the fact, that person has little or no leadership abilities.

Time. Time constrains us. Time limits our ability to develop young leaders, after all it takes time, patience, and a great deal of effort to provide the training, mentoring, and guidance over an extended period of time to develop truly well prepared future leaders. In today’s hectic fast paced world with aggressive growth goals, how can we invest in leadership development, what will we have to sacrifice to do so? Consider this. Is it really a sacrifice to develop those that we originally saw enough special qualities in to hire them in the first place.

Time. Time liberates us. It frees us to see our team members for who they truly are. Time allows us to see their unique talents and gifts. In my article about the value of one on ones, I spoke about encouraging team members to develop a “Five Year Plan”. This helps them set their sites on personal and professional growth. This process can also help you recognize future leaders, team members with a desire, a passion to become a driving force for your company in the future. I would like to suggest that internal team members can be your companies best possible future leadership. After all, they already know the companies culture, it’s heart, it’s objectives. You know them, what they are capable of, you’ve been able to watch their growth, you know their work ethic. they have been auditioning for the roll for years.

I would also suggest that leaders developed from within your organization are much more likely to be fiercely loyal to the company, deeply appreciative of the investment you pored into them.

There is another huge benefit of developing future leaders from within the organization. High moral. Your commitment to developing leaders from within is seen by all who make your company successful. Team members who see not only fair pay and solid benefits, but also, a very real opportunity for professional growth within your company are far more likely to have high moral, enjoy their jobs, and want to be at work.

There is no time like the present to start investing in those who want to grow.

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