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5 Ways HR Can Help Develop Leaders

Human Resources (HR) needs to be a driving force behind management development, as successful managers empower successful business outcomes. Even if organisations don’t have immediately obvious leadership issues, it’s important to implement effective systems and processes earlier rather than later.

There’s something to be said for effective management development in organisations. With the quality of managers being considered the second most important driver for employee retention, it’s essential for businesses to invest time, money and resources into developing strong and effective leaders.

Human Resources (HR) needs to be a driving force behind management development, as successful managers empower successful business outcomes. Even if organisations don’t have immediately obvious leadership issues, it’s important to implement effective systems and processes earlier rather than later.

In this article, we look at five key ways that HR can impact leadership development to drive organisational success.

1. Leadership training and development
Managers perform the crucial role of encouraging and empowering their teams. The more comfortable your leaders are with taking charge, the more motivated the rest of your employees will be. In fact, 88 per cent of people are extremely motivated by praise from their managers. For this reason, it’s essential that HR looks closely at how leaders in the business can be effectively trained and developed into the best leaders they can be.

 The process can begin with offering training and development opportunities for leaders, encouraging them to fill their skills gaps. HR can take an active role in impacting leadership development by celebrating leaders’ strengths and identifying where they can do better. They can also be instrumental in suggesting courses or offering mentoring opportunities to suit.

 It’s also important to note that this process of developing leaders should begin before the management level. HR should create effective systems for identifying future leaders and present opportunities for them to grow leadership skills through development programs.

2. Promotion systems
Businesses often promote people with advanced technical skills in leadership roles. The issue with this is that technical skills don’t necessarily translate into excellent leadership skills. HR needs to be aware of the impact poor leadership can have on staff morale and efficiency, and plan ahead to avoid this. 

 When people are promoted into leadership positions, it’s HR’s responsibility to ensure they’re suitably trained and supported to be able to manage their new position. This means creating an effective system around promotion, ensuring leaders are effectively onboard and supported through initiatives such as mentoring, training programs and coaching.

 Promotion systems should look at employees’ skills and strengths and ensure people are promoted accordingly. Along with promotions based on technical skills, HR also needs to ensure they look at a potential promotion based on a range of soft skills as well, including communication, conflict resolution and change management.

 There should also be a clear succession planning process in place to ensure there are leaders on hand to step up if someone in a leadership position retires or moves on. Effective leadership succession planning is key to long-term organisational success.

3. Employee-centric approach
HR should ensure that an employee-centric approach is maintained when it comes to developing leadership. Managers at all levels need to follow a people-centric leadership model, and HR needs to facilitate this. 

It’s HR’s responsibility to ensure people in the organisation know what effective leadership is. This may take the form of established documentation and wording around what behaviours are expected of leaders in the business. This will provide clear expectations across the organisation, as well as common language and terms.

An employee-centric approach also means developing the interpersonal skills of leaders and creating effective strategies for hiring, retaining and managing teams.

4. Helping managers take a team-based approach
Comprehensive management is about more than performance reviews and workflows. It’s about inspiring teams and motivating them to do their best work. Your business’ management team will keep employees happy through good leadership. This comes back to having an effective promotion, hiring and training systems in place to ensure the right people progress into the right leadership roles.

 By the same token, managers need to be provided with the right tools to help develop their own team’s strengths. HR can help leaders empower their individual teams by equipping them with processes for coaching, training and mentoring within teams. This also involves helping leaders learn how to identify potential future leaders.

5. HR and senior management collaboration
When it comes to business success, HR needs to identify what leadership roles affect business strategy. By identifying what roles are correlated with strategy, you’ll understand the individuals you need to work alongside with, in order to create and execute effective strategies.

Managers shouldn’t be left to their own devices when it comes to creating and rolling out initiatives. HR needs to be across these strategies to help document them, encourage employee buy-in and support leaders in achieving positive business outcomes. HR needs to collaborate and work alongside the business’ leaders to ensure expectations are met and processes are followed.

If you’re looking to become an expert in management and leadership, consider educating yourself in the necessary strategies to help your organisation foster great leaders. A Global MBA can empower your future and any future organisation. 

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