Organizations succeed by identifying, developing, and retaining talented leaders.

As a CEO it’s up to us as leaders—at every organization, and in all industries—to set up the next generation of leaders for success.

Five businesspeople in a meeting

Leadership development.

  • Talent provides organizations a key competitive advantage, but there must be managers and a process in place to identify and nurture next-generation leaders.
  • Large and small companies may have a leg up in leadership development. Medium-sized organizations have the most difficulty with talent identification because these companies often lack the infrastructure and human resources capabilities.
  • What separates true leaders from the merely capable is flexibility in leadership styles in order to meet challenges of the global economy, rapid commoditization, and hyper-competitive environments.

Finding and nurturing future leadership talent is a primary concern for most organizations.

Providing interaction and mentoring

It can be hard to become what you can’t see. Awareness of diverse leaders and leadership styles can transform younger perspectives. To help them with this awareness, leaders can start by being an active participant in their growth, and engaging with them personally. Interactions can happen in a variety of ways— volunteering for local community events, speaking at schools or universities, and participating at conferences or career days, to name a few. When strong leaders interact with their communities, students and young professionals can clearly see different forms of success and leadership.

Interaction is just one part of transforming younger perspectives—mentorship is another important building block. Being a mentor is a long-term commitment to the development and growth of any individual by providing constant support and feedback. People evolve, and so your relationships must evolve with them. Care personally; don’t put people in boxes and leave them there.

The young employees of today are the future business leaders of tomorrow. As leaders, we have an obligation to help our future by training and mentoring tomorrow’s leaders today. How do we develop and keep the best young talent in an organization? The answer is using a mentoring program. By using an effective mentoring program, the leaders of today can help develop today’s talent into tomorrow’s leaders. Companies that leverage the leadership and experience of senior employees can develop and maintain the talent they have in-house.

Leadership Qualities

Leadership is action and not position; a leader shows somebody how to do something, while a boss simply tells a subordinate to get something done. The leader has a vision and a plan and must inspire people around them to believe in and execute a plan. Although there are different types of leaders, all successful leaders share common characteristics that contribute towards their success. An effective leader knows his or her strengths and weaknesses, and is able to maximize all of them. Leaders have a certain confidence about them, and are able to stay calm under pressure. They are able to control their emotions so they can think clearly and make the best decisions that will achieve goals and produce winning situations. Leaders need to be flexible and know how and when to change to best meet each situation. The leader knows how to manage conflict and understand the political culture to achieve the best results. Leaders and the mentors share many of the same qualities; we will continue to discuss combining leadership and mentoring to help young employees. If mentoring of the employee meets the agreed upon goal, the mentor had to function as a leader during the process. It is hard to be a mentor without being a leader.

Leaders and Young Employees

Leadership and mentoring of young employees is a way senior employees can help drive success of a corporation or an initiative. Young people graduate from academic institutions armed with academic knowledge and enthusiasm. However, many people quickly realize that they lack the skills required to navigate and succeed in a corporate environment. When employees of different generations need to work together on projects, there is the potential for an unhealthy rivalry and a contentious relationship. The young employee may feel the mature employee is stuck in their ways and unwilling to try an alternative, and the mature employee sees the youthful exuberance as flighty and undisciplined. When a mentor sponsors an employee, they form a professional bond that should leave a lasting impression on both parties. This paper will discuss the connection of leadership and mentoring, discussing how leaders can help develop the young employee.

People often discuss the concept of leadership, but rarely is one able to define what leadership is. When asked for examples of leadership, often we receive names but not the qualities of leadership. Helping employees recognize the difference between leadership and management can yield great results for everyone and create the utopia win-win situation. Leadership is action and not position; this is a powerful concept that can help employees grasp the importance of leadership in life, not only in a professional setting. Leaders show people what to do, a boss will tell somebody what to do. The concept that anyone with the desire can become an effective leader is a great mentoring topic.

Cultivating teamwork and collaboration

The leaders of tomorrow will face ever-changing team structures, with more remote workers and more diverse skill sets than ever before. This means ensuring that the next generation has the opportunity to interact and collaborate in the classroom and the workplace.

It’s not just about building team-oriented character and collaboration skills in education, it’s also important to continue encouraging collaboration once people enter the workplace.

Giving and receiving effective feedback

Mentoring and collaboration aren’t possible without learning how to give and receive effective feedback. Constructive feedback may be hard for some to hear, and may be hard for some to give, but it’s essential to growth. In fact, only 29% of employees say they “always” know whether their performance is where it should be, and that’s alarming. We need to ensure our future leaders have the confidence and ability to ask for and give feedback in a genuine way.

As future leaders learn how to give and receive quality feedback, their ability to lead will increase, and as a result, the success of their company will improve as well.

There are a myriad of skills and development opportunities needed for career growth, but it is most vital that we provide mentorship, cultivate collaboration for the workplace, and equip individuals to both give and receive feedback effectively. These skills empower leaders to not only be financially and technically successful, but to become mission-driven, transformative leaders.

The future is bright. When I see the rising talent in Fretex, I’m filled with hope and excitement. I have immense gratitude for those who helped shape me and my career—no one is on an island; we have all been shaped and mentored by those that came before us, just as the next generation will shape and mentor those that come after them. We have an opportunity to pay it forward to the next generation of leaders.


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