Empowering Emerging Talent: From Rising Stars to Leaders
Every shift in leadership and the expansion of managerial responsibilities necessitates thorough training, ongoing re-training, and a willingness to adapt.
A growing company needs to have a talent strategy that retains and promotes growth for promising individuals and which prepares them for bigger responsibilities and greater complexity.
This is particularly evident when examining first-time managers, where a lack of certain essential skills can significantly impact the employees under their supervision.
Such deficiencies often result in heightened stress levels, diminished retention rates, decreased engagement, and a loss of confidence among team members.
To remedy this, it is crucial to be intentional in nurturing your top talent, providing them with the training and developmental support needed to navigate their evolving roles successfully.
This approach not only bolsters their professional trajectory but also equips them to effectively embrace new and expanding responsibilities.
Eight Essential Skills for Nurturing Rising Talent
In the pursuit of nurturing rising talent, it is essential to recognize and cultivate a set of key skills that not only empower individuals but also contribute positively to the overall organizational landscape.
These skills encompass:
1. Focusing on Goals
Proficiently establishing and pursuing achievable goals while maintaining a steadfast focus on the broader objectives during execution is a challenging ability to develop. Being goal oriented is one of the distinguishing characteristics of leaders who are capable of being strategic and problem solving independently.
2. Communicating Effectively
The ability to craft clear, concise, empathetic, and timely communication is paramount. This skill extends to various facets, including feedback communication, client interactions, and public discourse.
A 2022 PMI survey of 3,492 project professionals identified that communication and collaborative leadership were among the top two most important skills for ensuring that projects and teams met business goals and that organizations that place a high priority on these skills were more likely to be successful adhering to their budgets and scope while achieving business goals.
3. Growing Self-awareness
Self-awareness is the cornerstone of personal development. Rising talent must understand their strengths, weaknesses, values, and sources of motivation to facilitate continuous self-improvement.
Well known leader and management guru, Ray Dalio, writes about the process of self-evolution that is possible to achieve with the right balance of humility and self-reflection.
His well known mantra is “Pain + Reflection = Progress.” This skill, more than any other, flourishes through executive coaching, where the leader is able to be open and is not required to present answers, but can learn to question and explore possibilities productively.
4. Listening and Observing
Effective communication extends beyond words. It involves actively listening and keenly observing at multiple levels, enabling individuals to grasp not just the content but also the nuances, relationships, and unspoken aspects of any situation.
5. Relationship Building
Building and nurturing mutually beneficial relationships with stakeholders, peers, clients, industry, and your team is crucial for up-and-coming leaders and rising stars.
A network of trusted advisors and responsive colleagues enables greater impact and greater learning. While this skill comes naturally to some, it is also a set of practices and habits that can be taught and learned, and should be focused on with all up-and-coming leaders.
6. Project Management
Proficiency in project management involves adeptly utilizing time management skills, adhering to deadlines, and maintaining meticulous organization to ensure the successful completion of tasks and projects.
Mastering some of the technical skills of organization at a team level can significantly increase the impact and value of a rising star leader by enabling them to manage a larger scope of work. It's also one of the skills that is the easiest to assess and train on early.
The capacity to adapt flexibly to changing circumstances while remaining unwaveringly focused on overarching goals is essential to outpacing competition and meeting evolving customer requirements.
The only way agility becomes a quality of the company is if its management is adaptable and collaborate flexibly.
8. Mentoring, Coaching, and Training
Recognizing the value of developing talent within one's purview is instrumental in enhancing personal impact.
Mentoring, coaching, and training those below you not only nurtures their growth but also contributes significantly to the organization's overall success.
Rising stars should be given the opportunity to coach and mentor others, but monitored to help them teach in a humble and open-minded manner that fosters collaboration and cohesion on the team.
Essential Strategies for Nurturing Rising Stars
To complement the development of these essential skills, a well-rounded approach encompasses a variety of strategies and initiatives. Even a small company can implement training, coaching, and mentoring programs into their talent development strategy.
1. Stretch Projects
Assigning challenging stretch projects serves as a deliberate means to refine and fortify crucial skills. These projects, often accompanied by an element of risk, compel individuals to step out of their comfort zones, fostering skill development, and resilience.
A notable example in my practice has been a project manager who’s exceptional relationship building skills were noted as a potential asset to business development efforts. He was invited into several early discussions with potential clients where he was simultaneously able to contribute his knowledge of the work required to complete the project and stretch towards learning more about the customers and how new opportunities are discovered through strategic conversations.
For the company, cultivating this skill in a talented PM provides multiple benefits: it improves his capacity to discover new opportunities with existing clients, it provides an additional person who could be trusted with customer negotiations to deal with times when there are upticks in early stage discussions.
2. Project Assignments with Diverse Leaders
he deliberate allocation of project assignments under the mentorship of various leaders within the organization is another pivotal strategy.
These leaders are selected based on the potential for building valuable relationships or because of their specific strengths that can be imparted to rising talent. Such mentorship not only broadens skill sets but also nurtures a comprehensive understanding of leadership dynamics.
3. Executive Coaching
Employing executive coaching is particularly effective for honing skills related to self-awareness, communication, adaptability, and strategic thinking. Seasoned coaches provide personalized guidance, enabling rising talents to unlock their full potential and make significant strides in their professional journey.
The research on the subject is quite clear: executive coaching provides a significant ROI and improves not only the performance of the coached individuals but also of their entire team.
In fact, organizations that offer training alone experience 22% increase in productivity, but when combined with coaching that figure rises to 88%.
4. Targeted Training
Tailored training programs focusing on project management, communication, coaching techniques, and other pertinent management skills are invaluable.
These courses equip individuals with the specific knowledge and tools required to excel in their respective roles.
5. Peer Mentoring
Encouraging peer mentoring initiatives establishes a collaborative learning environment. This approach allows rising talents to benefit from the collective wisdom of their peers, sharing experiences and insights to enhance their skill development and problem-solving capabilities.
In my experience, great companies have both generalized peer mentoring programs (for example a program that matches a new hire with someone outside of their department for a lunch) and affinity group specific mentoring that fosters development of talent through D&I initiatives (such as a women’s mentoring program).
In addition to the benefits to the mentees and mentors, these types of programs build relationships and communications across departments and teams and greatly support faster knowledge sharing and better collaborations across projects.
Facilitating the growth of rising talent should involve multiple strategies designed to harness their potential and propel them toward leadership excellence.
Carefully orchestrated developmental activities converge to create a comprehensive framework that ensures the company has successors for key roles and that its new managers are set up for success.
These eight essential skills empower individuals to excel and elevate the collective prowess of the organization, ultimately leading to greater achievements and positive outcomes in the business.
When you develop a deliberate practice for growing your rising stars into leaders you're not just building your company's current capability and succession pipeline. You're also creating a great reason for talented and ambitious people to join your team.
Chief Marketing Officer, Kristyan Mjolsnes, describes how marketing can contribute to promoting these programs and improving attraction and retention of talent in her recent article: Unlocking Talent: The Impact of Marketing on Recruitment and Retention.
About the Author
Fractional Strategy & Growth Officer.
Throughout her experience, Dasha has collaborated closely with numerous CEOs and founders, helping them bring their visions to life through strategic planning, implementing new processes, and coaching executives to achieve success. Her exceptional technical expertise and adeptness in forging complex multi-company partnerships have established her as a recognized leader in the space and satellite industry.
Dasha can help your team not only write the strategy to achieve your goals but also set up the strategy execution practice. She coaches managers on the 8 habits, teaches skills such as “Simple Quarterly Planning” and “Sensible Process Design”, and implements software and systems that help your team scale.
If you are exploring the option of hiring a fractional executive for your next phase of growth, discuss with Dasha Tyshlek to lead strategy and planning. Read Dasha’s bio.
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