Strategic Leadership Development Planning: Nurturing Tomorrow's Leaders

Strategic Leadership Development Planning: Nurturing Tomorrow's Leaders
By: The Humphrey Group

Today’s high performing workers are not just looking for a job – they're seeking roles that provide meaning and opportunity for growth. As the boomer generation approaches retirement age, organizations are facing pressure to plan for the future of their leadership.

At The Humphrey Group, we know that cultivating and growing leaders doesn't happen overnight. It's a journey that requires time, commitment, and deliberate effort – and it takes a highly capable leader to establish the next generation of leaders. That's why it's crucial for those in positions of influence today to start making leadership development planning a priority. 

But leadership development isn't just about climbing the corporate ladder. It's about creating pathways for growth and development. Knowing that there’s room to grow and expand boosts morale, increases engagement, and even helps with job satisfaction. Here are four practical steps leaders can take to foster growth and development for their teams.


Establish a vision for your employee’s career path

Setting a vision and providing a clear roadmap for advancement gives employees the information they need to make informed decisions about their career trajectory. We often tell our clients that articulating a vision isn’t just about the CEO setting a vision for the company. A vision can also be your vision for that employee. You should be able to paint a picture of where you believe they can go that will inspire them. This clarity not only empowers them to understand the steps needed for progression but also increases their likelihood of remaining with the organization.

Create a plan in collaboration with your employees. Take time to learn about the areas of growth each employee is interested in and determine the skills and experience required to progress to the next level. Look inward at the company structure and goals, and determine how this could fit within the long-term trajectory of the organization.


Invest in learning and development

Strategic planning for learning and development is a great, tangible way to demonstrate commitment to your employees' growth and professional advancement. At The Humphrey Group, we provide tailored leadership training programs that are designed to equip your team with not only the skills but also the leadership qualities needed to excel. By providing access to training programs, workshops, and educational resources, individuals are given a real way to acquire the skills and knowledge relevant to their goals. If your employee comes to you with training needs, ask them how they believe it fits with the vision they're working towards. You should also communicate how the training you believe they should take will help them realize this vision. 

When an employee’s trajectory has been carefully mapped out, this brings immediate value back to the organization in the form of skills that increase productivity and strategically build out for a future state. Focusing on learning and development as a value also serves to encourage a culture of continuous improvement.


Provide regular feedback and mentorship

At the Humphrey Group, we are advocates for delivering purposeful and constructive feedback whenever it's needed, not just at review time. High performing employees will want to receive regular feedback to ensure that they are on the right track.  

Start by establishing open lines of communication and encouraging your team to seek feedback on progress and goals. By creating a safe space for dialogue, leaders can address any challenges or concerns proactively and offer guidance to help employees overcome obstacles.


Foster growth through stretch opportunities

A powerful but practical way to encourage growth is to have employees take on stretch assignments. These are opportunities that allow them to acquire new skills, showcase their capabilities, and expand their professional networks.

Start by identifying potential stretch assignments or projects that align with their vision and career aspirations, and the plans you’ve created together. Look for opportunities that will challenge them to step outside their comfort zone.

Once identified, provide the necessary support and resources to help them succeed. It’s common for people to doubt themselves when they’re trying something out of their comfort zone, and your role as a leader is to inspire them to believe they can do it and remind them why they should do it. Offer guidance and mentorship to navigate and overcome obstacles along the way and don’t forget to connect it all back to their vision. By investing in their development, leaders demonstrate their commitment to supporting employees' growth and success.


The job of today’s leader is to develop tomorrow’s leader

It is increasingly becoming a leader’s responsibility to foster an environment where teams flourish and progress through strategic leadership development planning. 

Collaborating with employees to design strategic career paths, providing consistent feedback and mentorship, and offering stretch assignments and projects that challenge and develop their skills are becoming a necessary part of a leader’s scope.



Curious to learn more? Visit our website to explore our comprehensive training programs and personalized learning experiences that empower leaders at every level.