You’ve certainly earned your stripes when it comes to management. From your understudy position as a trainee, progressing up the ranks to mid then senior management positions, you know a thing or two about what makes people tick.
But it’s not enough to have people do their job properly and to oversee their training, you’re on a mission. A mission to inspire the leaders of tomorrow and that takes something special. It takes something more than people skills and it takes more than having people tick all the right boxes in their leadership training programmes. To train up future leaders will require giving something of you, your knowledge, your wisdom and allowing those under you the space to grow and even make mistakes. It will also require you to look outside of your organisation and talk to those young people who haven’t even yet started on their career paths.
In this article, we’re taking a look at some specifics in how to train up and inspire tomorrow’s industry leaders.
Grass Roots Level
Chances are you can identify those in your organisation who already display all the hallmarks of a future in management but it’s time to get back to basics. If your organisation doesn’t already have some kind or corporate community partnership then it’s time to either start one or join a movement that already fosters ties in the community.
Talk to your local education providers about mentoring schemes that would benefit from your input and make a regular commitment to helping a young person realise their dream and kick start their career.
Consider the option of an apprenticeship scheme that will give you the benefit of training up someone in your niche industry and provide a young person with a future. This option is particularly useful for the more niche industries such as design and digital modelling where learning specialised techniques such as realspace3d.com/resources/3d-rendering-tutorials/sketchup-render-plugins/ requires time, patience and an experienced hand to guide you through the various stages.
If you see a future for yourself in the education sector post-retirement talk to your local business school or university to determine if they would be open to creating a course or opening up a lecture opportunity for you.
Getting involved with those outside your organisation doesn’t have to be as committed as a regular meet-up or a spot lecturing. It might be that you choose to create a one-off project with the simple vision of inspiring a young person outside your organisation.
Consider, for example, running a community competition. Something that reflects the nature of your industry – a design or writing challenge for example. Encourage skills that involve critical thinking and making good judgements. You can reward the competition winner with some design software, a day touring and working in your offices or a trip to somewhere associated with your industry. Anything that might inspire the future of your business is a great first foray into the community.
It also has the added effect of providing some passive community advertising.
Find An Expo
Or at least a careers’ fair to attend. There are so many options out there that finding a clear career path can be a confusing process, especially for young people about to make their university choices.
Book a stand at your local career fair either for older teens or at a university graduate expo where you’ll be able to talk to people keen to start work and to take their next steps along the career path.
Don’t just consider this a favour to others, this is also a valuable opportunity for talent scouting. If you do find yourself in conversation with someone who impresses you then take their details and keep them on file for future recruitment opportunities.
Make An Investment
If you’re really serious about investing in the future leadership of your business, then you may want to think about investing in some finance as well as your time. There are almost certainly some graduate training schemes that you could get in on the ground floor. It might even be a fantastic opportunity to set up your own corporate sponsorship scheme through a specialist university.
Set your standards for entry high to ensure that the successful student is someone who would fit well into your organisation on completion of their course.
Bolster Your Field
You might work in an industry that has suffered from lack of investment over the years and while your current position is strong, you recall times when there were struggle and difficulties to overcome. For this reason and to encourage people to enter into your field, you could consider being an organisation that supports the work of others.
As an example, if you’re a company that produces art supplies, from paints to easels, then investing in a local arts club or an organisation that helps marginalised groups access creative outlets, would be quite apt.
Yes, your CSR ratings will go through the roof but this kind of investment demonstrates your commitment to the industry as a whole and might just inspire a young person to take a chance and get into your line of work.
We’ve talked a lot about inspiring those outside to come inside but what about those loyal employees who, with some careful guidance, could find themselves progressing higher in your business?
Inspiring your team comes in many different guises and there are plenty of ways to teach both good business practice and the right attitude. The best way, however, is through modelling the behaviour yourself. Want your team to be dedicated, hard-working but avoid burnout? Show them that when the working day is done, it’s done. Take the lead and demonstrate how you value a healthy, happy team by setting the example.
Your leadership skills and business knowledge are just two of the talents you’re recognised for but those less tangible traits such as loyalty to your team are nevertheless equally as important.
This may seem obvious but with all the training in the world, if your team doesn’t have the opportunity to put their skills into practice, then this will only lead to frustration.
To achieve this may involve a little negotiation and change throughout the organisation but recognising and nurturing talent in-house is a sure-fire way to ensure the future success of your organisation.
The same is true of training. While it can seem that your office is always half empty as various team members embark on HR organised training, in fact equipping your team with skills is more than a practical advantage. Team members who feel trained up are also more likely to be more confident and want to take a chance on trying out new things and perhaps some extra responsibilities.
Don’t limit that training to in-house either, encourage professional training through a recognised body. This doesn’t just reflect well on your employee and allow them to go for jobs higher up the pay scale it also reflects well on your organisation. It shows customers and competitors alike that you take knowledge building and professional expertise seriously. This alone provides some solid marketing opportunities.
Finally, when you’re in the business of training up the leaders of tomorrow, take a look at your own approach and what personal and professional skills you need.
If you need to take a refresher leadership course do it. If you need to work on your patience and communication skills, make that happen. Leadership is an ongoing process and needs to be worked on every day that you’re in business. If you require a little extra support to be your best, take it and help someone else to be their best.
Cast your mind back to when you started off in the business you’re now in. Was it a straight path to management success or were there lots of twists and turns? What kind of guidance would have helped you to get there sooner and helped you avoid some of the pitfalls along the way?
Now is your chance to give back to your community but also to those in your own organisation. Think about engaging at the community level with a visit to schools and colleges. Get in on the lecturing circuit or set up a school scholarship that will help one young person achieve their life goals.
Inside your business, make sure that your own team is inspired and ready to take on extra responsibility. Leading by example is the first piece of the puzzle but let them see too that you’re ready to ask for extra support if you need it and that you value their mental and physical health as well their contribution to the office.
You’re a leader and a mentor and you’ve earnt that position through hard work and determination. Thanks to your dedication your business will pass on to good hands, so now it’s time to pass those skills on and step aside knowing you’ve done everything you can to raise tomorrow’s future leaders.