I recently listened to the succession  podcast, it was great to be challenged to build a 1 pager quickly.  After doing this is is apparent that in my division we have too many high professionals that meet expectations on their current role but limited willingness to advance in the line management and leadership area.  

I'm looking for advice on how  I should turn this around not only in my division but across the business. (as my feeling is we will see the same issue in every department).

Any advice or thoughts more than welcome.




mattpalmer's picture

First off, I'll say that not everyone wants to be a leader, and regardless of your belief in their aptitude for the role, if someone doesn't *want* something, you're never going to get a good result from them.  Any organisation that doesn't have the ability for people to excel in non-people roles is going to lose good people -- either because they'll feel forced into a management role in order to grow further, or they'll leave to go to places where they *can* continue to grow without having to run people.  While it isn't really the topic of this thread, I'd strongly recommend ensuring that your good, non-management-aspiring, people have somewhere to go.

I'm in the process of building some depth of leadership talent in my organisation, and I started by describing what I wanted from leaders (setting clear expectations) and then giving that information to everyone, and asking for expressions of interest.  I've been pleasantly surprised at the high percentage of people who were willing to consider such a role (around 20% of team members), and I'm currently running an extended training course in my expectations and how to meet them.  At the end of that, I'll ask everyone if they're still willing, and those that haven't been scared off will almost certainly make excellent, committed leaders.

The thing is, my organisation isn't one that you might think of as a place chock full of managerial wannabes.  I run an IT organisation, heavily stocked with very skilled and very "stereotypical geek" people -- not your traditional "people person" types.  I'm the same sort of person, so I think that one contributor to the high rate of people who put their hands up is that I've shown that management is (a) not *inherently* dodgy, and (b) something that is worth doing.  This has piqued peoples' interest, and they're keen to know more.

My take away, then, is to show people that management *can* be a valid and useful career of its own (rather than "what you do when you can't do the important stuff"), and then ask for people who might want to investigate that track.