Over the years, in the confines of corporate walls, the concept of hierarchical leadership has been a steady fixture.  While the corporate culture of most organizations may mandate succession planning based on standard metrics on the person’s vintage, exposure to various Business units and expertise in a specific set of attributes, the fact may be that the employee may be ready to take on the reins of leadership sooner.

I believe strongly that developing leadership pipeline should be one of the top KRAs of any leader.  The definition of leadership in undergoing a transformation as opposed to the traditional norms of leaders expecting subordinates to be mere order takers.  Collaborative leadership should be the way forward and this would mean high potential performers should be agenda setters who can help in steering the organization forward. I would encourage organizations to adopt the following measures:

1.       Build transparency and having an open feedback mechanism:  An employee who is given a feedback as not being’ Future Fit’ might not augur well for him/her if the feedback is given during the performance appraisal process. Employees view such actions as being highly authoritarian. Rather, if candid and transparent expectations are set and measured at frequent intervals, it provides a benchmark standard for the employee’s readiness for bigger roles.

2.       Leadership team taking active interest in the talent pipeline: In the day-to-day madnessof chasing corporate goals, leaders tend to become highly transactional failing to notice the latent talent pool that is available.  Setting up exclusive time to understand people issues may lead to generation of fresh perspectives and ideas which would otherwise go unnoticed.

3.       Empowerment- Empowering associates and treating them as partners can lead to them taking ownership and accountabilityInvolving employees in key strategic decisions bolsters their self-worth and makes them future ready.

4.       Open communication and trust:  Open communication fosters a sense of camaraderie and trust and it would be a good way to allay the employee’s fears and insecurities. Employees who valued exhibit passion and commitment. Also, facilitating communication channels of your subordinates with your bosses gives them a sense of feeling valued.

5.       Make them influencers not just enablers:  Involving employees in key challenges and deliverables is inclusive leadership and helps employees elevate themselves from pure execution capabilities to influential capabilities.

As Marshall Goldsmith said- ‘ You are as good as your team’ Great leaders proclaim that ‘ it is all about them’ and never say’ its all about me’.  Leadership does not accord one the privilege of just being on the top but the privilege of working with able and talented professionals who enables the success of the leader.