To help organizations identify and nurture emerging leaders, we reached out to CEOs, founders, and directors for their insights and examples of successful programs. From monitoring for resilience and adaptability in failure to building a leadership pipeline with assessments, discover 16 strategies shared by these experienced professionals to develop future leaders within your organization.

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  • Watch for Resilience and Adaptability to Failure
  • Develop a Successful Mentorship Program
  • Make Autonomy and Opportunities Accessible
  • Grow Personal Brands and Accountability
  • Recognize Potential and Foster Development
  • Identify Leadership Qualities and Offer Diverse Tasks
  • Foster a Risk-Taking Culture
  • Implement a Succession Planning Program
  • Cultivate HR and Business Collaboration
  • Engage in Rotational Assignments
  • Create Leadership Challenges
  • Conduct Quarterly Performance Tests
  • Nurture Loyal Employees with Opportunities
  • Emphasize Goals and Values for Leaders
  • Promote Internal Growth and Development
  • Build Leadership Pipeline with Assessments

Watch for Resilience and Adaptability to Failure

Our UI/UX lead was assigned the task of redesigning the user interface to boost conversion rates. Despite the repeated failures he faced in his initial attempts, his resilience was remarkable. Rather than blaming other departments or expressing disappointment, he treated each setback as a learning opportunity, an attitude synonymous with effective leadership.

On his 14th attempt, he incorporated a block of client testimonials on the homepage—a risk that proved to be a masterstroke. It resulted in a +19% higher conversion rate, validated by an A/B test with 2,349 sessions. In my opinion, this clearly showed his leader’s qualities.

Marliis Reinkort, CEO, Code Galaxy

Develop a Successful Mentorship Program

One program that has been particularly successful at nurturing emerging leaders is our Mentorship Program. This is where experienced staff members provide guidance and support over extended periods of time so that newer hires can develop both personally and professionally under their watchful eye. 

This allows us not only to retain talent but also to grow that talent further by giving individuals more confidence when taking on greater responsibility roles within Ideal Tax’s operations.

Faris Khatib, CEO, IdealTax

Make Autonomy and Opportunities Accessible

To identify emerging leaders, you must give your employees the autonomy to take ownership of initiatives and responsibilities. 

By providing regular opportunities for your employees to step up to the plate with their skills, such as spearheading a project, you’ll be able to identify who thrives and seeks this level of responsibility. All companies employ natural-born leaders, but many never discover them because they aren’t given the space to express their skills.

Joshua Host, CEO, Thrivelab

Grow Personal Brands and Accountability

A person should build a “personal brand” inside our company. This requires accountability. You must take on the risk of being publicly wrong. We understand that in our rapidly evolving crypto startup, not every idea will succeed. 

However, we also highly value when a person pitches an idea, then unites colleagues around it, and ultimately delivers measurable results. Even a single such story is a big success. But when they occur two, three times, or more—that’s not an accident—it’s a pattern. We recognize and nurture emerging leaders through personalized development plans and attractive growth opportunities within CoinLedger.

David Kemmerer, Co-founder and CEO, CoinLedger

Recognize Potential and Foster Development

I identify and nurture emerging leaders within my organization by recognizing potential and providing opportunities for development. I foster an environment that values innovation and rewards initiative. 

For example, I created a mentorship program that pairs experienced professionals with junior employees, so they can both gain an understanding and appreciation of different perspectives. Through this program, junior employees have had the opportunity to learn about the inner workings of my organization, develop their strengths, and build relationships with senior colleagues. 

The results of this program have been incredibly successful; we’ve been proud to see our junior employees turn into future leaders.

Span Chen, Growth Director, Notta

Identify Leadership Qualities and Offer Diverse Tasks

We identify future leaders by looking for specific qualities. Employees will show certain traits that are important for a leader. We keep an eye out for these, which helps us pick leaders.

Some of these qualities include drive, adaptability, integrity, and vision. When we see an employee with these qualities, we pick them out. We give them different kinds of tasks to train them for different roles. They get more challenges and opportunities to hone their skills.

Rodney Warner, CEO, Connective Web Design

Foster a Risk-Taking Culture

To identify emerging leaders, you need to push potential candidates out of their comfort zone and assign difficult tasks. Getting them involved will help you unleash their true potential.

To further nurture that talent, you need to incorporate a culture of risk-taking. Many companies adopting this culture have a higher success rate. These companies are quick to adapt to any change and innovate at the same time. To polish your emerging leaders, allow them to take risks in their decision-making. You can address them about poor and good risk-taking practices for business. This is how you identify and nurture leaders in our company.

Albert Vaisman, Founder, Soxy

Implement a Succession Planning Program

I prioritize the identification and nurturing of emerging leaders within my organization. Our Succession Planning program has been successful in developing our future leaders. Through this program, we develop our individual staff members and give them a platform to explore their potential.

As part of this program, we offer employee training, special projects, and professional development opportunities to help our staff develop their skills and competencies. We also provide mentorship opportunities to our emerging leaders to help them progress in their careers and succeed as they take on greater roles and responsibilities. We have found this program to be successful in developing future leaders within our organization.

Adil Advani, Marketing Director, AnySoftwareTools

Cultivate HR and Business Collaboration

HR will no longer be treated as a separate entity from the business. The company and HR need to work together constantly on talent, leadership, and workforce planning projects to develop today’s finest leaders.

According to research from Bersin by Deloitte, businesses that foster a supportive relationship between HR and business executives are six times more likely to succeed in discovering and nurturing leaders.

Axel Hernborg, Founder and CEO,

Engage in Rotational Assignments 

One of the most effective ways to identify and nurture emerging leaders is to give employees the opportunity to engage in rotational assignments. This involves taking on various roles and responsibilities across different departments or functions within the organization. 

We designed these assignments to provide emerging leaders with a well-rounded experience and a broader understanding of the organization as a whole. By immersing themselves in different areas, participants gained diverse insights, learned to adapt to various work environments, and developed a range of skills. 

These cross-functional experiences fostered creativity, enhanced problem-solving abilities, and enabled participants to make informed decisions by drawing on a wide range of perspectives. Their performance was a key indicator of their leadership abilities and it helped us identify and train select employees for their future as leaders.

Harry Morton, Founder, Lower Street

Create Leadership Challenges

While there are many strategies you could use to identify the right people who are emerging as leaders, I find that creating opportunities that give your employees a real challenge is one particularly effective method. 

This method essentially involves creating challenges that require leadership skills. And you need to be active throughout the project—as you need to observe and see who it is that takes center stage and acts as the leader amongst the team. It’s a great way to also see them in action and determine if they truly have what it takes to be a leader in a corporate environment.

Will Baker, Founder, Skirtings R Us

Conduct Quarterly Performance Tests

It is important to realize that various factors influence leadership. It is not enough for a person to simply appear appealing or engaging to be considered a potential leader. Likewise, a person who engages less does not automatically disqualify them as a potential leader.

An emerging leader is someone who can handle setbacks while effectively solving problems. Many employees can solve problems, but not all of them can maintain composure while solving a problem. A distinguishing quality of a great leader is their ability to deal with hardships and still find effective solutions. 

By conducting performance tests on employees with these qualities, you can identify the right candidates for leadership positions.

Dan Barrett, Co-founder, Pacific Precious Metals

Nurture Loyal Employees with Opportunities

A loyal employee will almost always translate into a worthy leader. Future leaders who are willing to take on new responsibilities can be identified through regular meetings, goal-setting, and constructive feedback. Turn up the heat and see who joins the rat race.

Marco Genaro Palma, Co-founder, TechNews180

Emphasize Goals and Values for Leaders

Young leaders need clear goals and rules to achieve those goals and lead a successful team. To rephrase, future leaders in the organization need to embody the group’s defining ideals and ethos. Young leaders can better identify with the organization and grow into savvy representatives of its values if they are aware of and regularly engage in these aspects of their roles.

Dean Lee, Head of E-commerce, 88Vape

Promote Internal Growth and Development

An incredible way to identify and nurture emerging leaders within your organization is to develop a culture that motivates internal growth. By providing employees with professional development opportunities like courses, mentorship, conferences, workshops, and career coaching, leaders can freely practice their various skills and enhance their confidence level, which is essential to take on leading roles of greater responsibility. 

One of the best examples of a successful initiative to develop future leaders is the cohort-based leadership program.

John Sanei, Founder, JohnSanei

Build Leadership Pipeline with Assessments

To build a leadership pipeline, it is essential to ensure you begin to develop potential leaders’ skills to promote. Identify their strengths and weaknesses along with their career goals. This may be done through internships, mentorships, or temporary assignments. These employees will then be positioned to move into leadership roles. 

So often, leaders are promoted into positions without training or necessary assessment of abilities to lead effectively. Conducting leadership assessments can ensure that companies understand areas leaders may need further development and training. 

A review should begin with the organization clearly understanding the skills or competencies they want their leaders to convey. Numerous tools are available depending on the competencies being assessed, including personality tests, 360-degree feedback forms, and various skills assessments. Companies can use this data to develop training and development strategies to grow their leadership team.

Asker Ahmed, Director and Founder, iProcess