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Leadership Development

Quick Start Guide to Developing Emerging Leaders


How Do You Engage Your Emerging Leaders?

Leadership development is one of the most urgent issues that companies face in today’s competitive market. So, don't let a lack of resources or time stop you from starting to develop your emerging leaders training right away.

Ensuring you have the highest quality people in key roles is important as you look at succession planning and bench strength analysis for your organization. This short guide is designed for those of you looking for concrete ways to start developing emerging leader qualities, now.

Here's how to get started:


Before you get too far along in creating a formal program, make sure to identify those emerging leaders based on their characteristics.

It’s important to be able to identify your potential leaders as soon as possible so that you can begin focusing on this group to develop their skills. You will want to develop programs targeted to their leader level, as the challenges will differ depending on each audience's next-place and in-place roles.


Action learning engages emerging leaders in solving real-life organizational challenges. This helps them quickly develop and apply new skills while benefiting their organizations at the same time.

For instance, ask an emerging leader to lead or participate in a project that focuses on improving employee engagement, improving an inefficient process, or designing a technical training program for new hires. In the process, that leader will strengthen skills such as systems thinking, problem solving, financial acumen, and change management.

3. Create opportunities for experimental, on-the-job learning

Emerging leaders like to be stretched. This is particularly true for top talent. Organizations can attract and foster their top talent by providing an environment in which leaders can experiment and grow.

Give your emerging leaders a challenging assignment that falls within their capabilities, for example: leading a global, cross-cultural work group, managing a large-scale organizational change initiative, or overseeing a high-pressure assignment with visibility to senior leaders.

4. Use group coaching so leaders can learn from one another

Group coaching gives leaders a shared experience and the opportunity to work together and support each other in accomplishing their goals.

In group coaching, the participants take a more active role in leading group discussions (through rotational leadership), while the coach provides support and assistance as needed. Group coaching participants could include intact teams that want to improve the way they work together or newly promoted leaders who can learn and benefit from other new leaders’ experiences.

5. Encourage informal mentoring to work on just-in-time challenges and broaden exposure

What is mentoring? Simply stated, it is experienced leaders sharing their knowledge with new or emerging leaders.

Mentoring programs should be tailored to address the specific needs of the business and emerging leaders. For instance, a mentoring program could:

  • Match first-time leaders with high-performing leaders at their same level
  • Match high-potential emerging leaders with mentors one or two levels up, or
  • Pair an emerging leader with a near-retirement team member for knowledge transfer (multi-generational mentoring)
Your company needs to be poised to change and grow to keep up with the dynamics of today’s volatile workplace. Having a pipeline of emerging leaders is one of the best ways to accomplish these goals. Developing leadership qualities in your managers and emerging leaders will pay handsome dividends in the long run as you will be developing the next generation of leaders for your organization. 

In addition, you’ll continue to attract and retain top employees that can improve productivity at all levels of the organization right now. That’s a successful investment that smart leaders know can drive greater innovation and financial performance for their organizations.

Want more help developing emerging leaders? Check out our previous blogs:

8 Characteristics of Emerging Leaders

What Everyone Should Know About Emerging Leaders

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

How to Succeed With Emerging Leaders Download

Lauren Parkhill

Lauren Parkhill leads the marketing team in creating creative content that helps organizations develop their leaders and teams.