How Can Organizations Select and Develop Effective Leaders

While it’s true that an organization is only as strong as its weakest link, it’s also true that a company’s leadership must identify those weaknesses and make adjustments when necessary.

Effective leaders are essential to the success of any organization in any industry. Leaders are expected to set goals that correspond with the company’s greater vision, delegate wisely, communicate with team members and management, and apply their creative and analytical skills to solve complex problems.

With so much asked of leading talent, how can organizations select and develop effective leaders? Furthermore, how can companies know that the strengths identified through their talent assessment methods will carry on after the individuals are appointed to their leadership roles?

What Makes an Effective Leader in Your Company?

Part of finding a method to select and develop effective leaders has to do with understanding the needs of your company. Different business models have different requirements for successful operations, and even companies in the same industry take different approaches . So how can organizations begin to assess which candidates fit their specific needs?

One of the most accurate ways to measure leadership competency is through generic skills assessment testing. Recent Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA+) results show that stronger generic skills test results--tests that demonstrate broad ability in critical thinking and written communication rather than subject-specific knowledge--lead to stronger work performance and stronger leaders.

Understanding how to assess potential leadership to solve your company’s unique obstacles is the first step in identifying an effective leader.

Consider these questions when assessing what qualities you’re looking for in a leader:

  • What are the defining traits of your company’s culture?

  • What future do you envision for your company and what benchmarks must be hit to reach this vision of the future? Which leaders and which leadership competencies are needed to steer your organization toward that future?

  • Which of these leadership and management competencies does your company already have in place?

  • Where has leadership failed in the past? How can you avoid those mistakes in the future?

  • Where has leadership in your company made positive strides? How can you use that information to predict strong leadership capacity in candidates?

  • Where does your company need the most help? Where does it need the least amount of help?

  • When evaluating a leadership candidate, how can you be clear that this candidate has the analytical and critical thinking tools to solve organization-level problems?

How to Select Effective Leaders to Hire and Promote

Whether you’re looking to promote someone from within your company or bring in outside talent, it’s important to have an accurate system to confidently evaluate the efficacy of a potential leadership candidate.

In addition to company-specific leadership qualities informed by the questions above, the following criteria can be applied to select effective leaders for your company.

Select Leaders Your Teams Will Get Behind

In order to communicate effectively and promote a positive work environment, leaders need the trust and support of their teams. This means candidates need to demonstrate the ability to establish rapport with team members, demonstrate managerial competence, and build trust at all levels.

Find Leaders Who Can Work Well With Available Resources

To maintain an edge against the competition, leaders have to be resourceful. The most resourceful leaders are able to adapt, make adjustments, and get things done in an efficient and timely manner, with the tools and budget available.

Choose Leaders Who Can Delegate and Manage Time Wisely

Because executives can’t oversee every department at all times, it’s important to find leaders who can delegate tasks and manage their time wisely on a department and team level. It is essential for effective executives to identify and entrust managers who understand where attention is needed within projects and teams and who can effectively communicate priorities to team members.

Select Leaders Who Understand the Long-Term Vision

For leaders to assess the progress of their departments, they need to understand the greater vision of their organization. Yes, it’s important to select leaders who can get things done effectively, but action is only valuable if  it serves the the long-term vision.

Assess for Leadership Potential

The best way to select effective leaders is to present your candidates with the kinds of real-life scenarios they’ll have to face on the job. SkillMetric is a skill assessment test that provides a research-based, proven approach to measuring skills and potential. SkillMetric assesses skills based on how someone behaves while working through a real-world task, and then indicates a proficiency level as a reliable indicator of that individual’s skills, regardless of their pedigree. .

How to Develop Leadership Talent in Your Organization

Looking within your own company is an excellent resource for developing future leadership talent. Employees already understand your business, so you can focus on developing their skills to address the needs of your organization and industry. By systematically testing their progress, you can ensure that you are effectively nurturing successful leaders from your bench of talent.

Offer Education Perks and Resources

Does your organization offer funding for graduate studies or other certifications? Extending educational benefits is an excellent way to build the talent you have at your disposal. Large scale surveys and skill assessment results indicate that critical thinking tools are as important as ever, and honing these skills through extended learning may be the path to growing leadership.

Create a Culture of Development and Continuous Learning

By emphasizing continuous learning and skill development as core principles of your company's culture, you can both attract and nurture these essential qualities in leadership candidates. Maintaining a healthy and open channel for questions and concerns will create a positive environment conducive to development and continuous learning. The workplace can become a place of both productivity and education for long-term growth.

By defining the leaders and leadership traits most needed by your company, you can better identify these characteristics in leaders within and outside your company. SkillMetric is a skill-based assessment that can help identify potential leaders using real-world scenarios and performance tasks. SkillMetric measures what truly matters--what people can do, not just what they know. By leveraging AI to score these more authentic tasks, SkillMetric is able to reliably indicate proficiency levels from “emerging” to “advanced,” thus helping you identify talent with critical skills common among leaders. To see how SkillMetric can identify the next generation of leaders at your company,  schedule a demo here.