How to develop the future leaders of your company in 3 steps

leadership development training

Are there “eternal talents” in your company? Do your high potentials regularly migrate to the competition? This article will tell you how you can develop your high potentials into leaders and thus bind them to your company.

If a company fails in successfully developing its high-potential employees, two things can happen that have a negative impact on the company:

  1. High-potential employees remain “eternal talents” in the company. They are identified, but they cannot be developed into specific key positions.
  2. High potentials have been developed outstandingly well, but there is no suitable position in the company. Once expectations are raised and then disappointed, the talents switch to the competition.

It is therefore crucial how you approach the further development of your high potentials after you have identified them and successfully develop them into key positions or managers. Establish systematic career management for this purpose.


Developing high potentials with career management

Career management is teamwork: talented people take responsibility for their professional development, empowered by their managers, who act as career coaches and supported by the company with the appropriate tools. In doing so, there is transparency and clarity about the development opportunities within the company. The result: development wishes and goals of your high potentials are brought in line with the needs of the company. Thus, “eternal talents” or high potentials without development perspectives are a thing of the past.

In these three steps, you proceed with career management to further develop your high potentials:

1. Make the high-potential employee a career pilot

Successful career management is based on the fact that each employee has the primary responsibility for advancing his or her own career. He or she must be clear about what he or she wants, what he or she can do and, ultimately, how he or she can contribute importantly to the company in a new role. The ideal employee from a career management perspective drives his or her career strategically, acts and engages proactively and is well networked within the company. Now it’s time to make your current managers as career coaches and turn high potentials into managers.

2. Empower the manager to act as a career coach

The demands on managers are constantly increasing. Besides the classic leadership skills, the function as coach requires further attitudes and skills. Role models are particularly important, because high potentials will closely observe their managers and orient themselves to them. This means: The manager must set an example of target values and desired behavior as well as offer orientation so that the employee can consciously or unconsciously adopt successful behavior.

In addition, as a career coach, the manager needs a good understanding of the career coaching approach and can use the basic coaching tools professionally.

Additional skills of a successful career coach:

  1. Empathy, openness, respect, appreciation of other perspectives
  2. Active listening at all levels
  3. Being able to take yourself back
  4. Imparting knowledge without being instructive
  5. Empower people to help themselves
  6. Recognizing the values and motivations of the employee and using them to motivate him
  7. Mediate between the goals of the employee and the company

In addition to the demands on the manager to build up competencies and invest time in consistent career coaching, the benefits for the manager are also clear: he or she can build up a very resilient network, develop personally and expand leadership competencies and has committed, satisfied and efficient employees in the team.

So it is done? You have made the employee aware of his or her own responsibility and enabled the manager to act as a career coach? Then there is only one building block missing for your mission to turn high potentials into managers: You have to give the high potentials the chance to further educate and develop themselves in order to successfully fulfill their future role.

3. Provide further training opportunities to build up competence

Depending on how many employees your company has, how many high potentials you have defined and the level of competence they have, build your development measures. For individuals, measures such as a mentoring program, individual coaching and onboarding coaching upon taking up the new position are available.

For a regular and significant number of high potentials who are taking on their first leadership role, it makes sense to offer a permanently installed program. This program should be based on the company-specific understanding of leadership, include the desired mission statement and build up all leadership competencies relevant for this company. Since it often involves extensive knowledge and skills development, many companies use a modular, multi-level system for training their “Future Leaders”, which often has a duration of up to one year. This ensures that vacant management positions can be successfully filled.


The establishment of a successful career management system that transforms the right high potentials into competent managers is not trivial. But the investment is worthwhile. Because the result is satisfied high potentials who know their development opportunities and can drive their development into a manager themselves in line with the company’s goals and needs. For more information on career management and developing your talents, please visit HireYourTalent.

What experience have you had in this area? What is already working well in your company? Where is the problem? We look forward to your ideas!

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: