Where are all of the future leaders?

If you are a leader, developing other leaders is your mission.

It is what leaders do!

I know you know this, or you wouldn’t be subscribed to Leader’s Lens!

I also know a lot of you are fighting to make leadership development more of a priority in your organization.

While development is treated like a “nice to have” in most organizations, numbers don’t lie!

  • 55% of CEOs say developing the next generation of leaders is their top challenge.
  • 83% of business recognized the importance of leadership development at all levels.
  • 11% of HR professionals report having a strong talent pool to fill leadership roles.
  • 85% of senior executives doubt their leadership teams’ can successfully navigate challenges.

But still, only 28% of leaders are actually being trained in critical skills for the future.


This is the problem. Most organizations understand that they need to help their leaders be better in their roles. But they don’t know how to do it well.

As a leader, it is up to you to be the champion of development for your team. Let’s look at how you do it….

Why does development matter and how do you do it?

If there is ever a Mount Rushmore created in honor of founders, Steve Jobs’ face will be one of the first added.

He was a visionary and innovator. But his abrasive leadership style created a culture of fear and stress in Apple’s early years. This excessively demanding leadership approach was one reason he was removed from the company he co-founded.

Even the most brilliant minds in the world have room for improvement.

But Jobs was resilient. He used this as motivation. During his time away from Apple, he refined his approach to leadership. He learned to communicate more effectively and improved his emotional intelligence. 

When he returned to Apple, his new approach to leadership set the stage for a remarkable resurrection. 

He learned the power of patience, a surprisingly essential attribute in leadership. He stopped rushing tasks that required meticulous attention. And most importantly, he became more compassionate about the physical capabilities of his team, moderating his expectations and demands accordingly. Leadership development can be transformational. It can improve how people communicate with each other, allow team members to better resolve conflict, and give people the tools they need to transform an entire organization.

You need a process to follow and guide your approach. 

The FOCUS development method is both practical and straightforward.

F – Find your strengths and gaps

O – Outline development goals

C – Collaborate

U – Utilize what you’ve learned

S – Share your experiences

F – Find your strengths and gaps

The first step involves understanding each team member’s strengths and areas of improvement. This understanding forms the foundation of a personalized development plan.

Encourage each team member to perform a personal SWOT analysis.

Organize feedback sessions where team members can gain insights from their peers.

Professional assessment tools can provide insights into each individual’s skills and competencies.

I love Gallup’s StrengthsFinder assessment for this.

O – Outline your development goals:

Once the strengths and weaknesses are identified, the next step is to help each team member outline their development goals. These should be SMART – specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.

Guide your team members to set goals that target their areas for improvement.

Ensure that these goals align with their career aspirations and your team’s objectives.

Help each team member create a timeline for achieving these goals.

C – Collaborate:

Encourage your team members to seek out learning opportunities that align with their development goals. This could involve recommending resources, organizing training sessions, or connecting them with mentors.

Help team members identify resources and learning opportunities relevant to their goals.

Organize team-wide learning sessions or invite speakers to share knowledge.

Encourage a mentorship culture within the team for continuous learning.

If you don’t already have it, buy a copy of FYI. It is an incredible development resource. 

U – Utilize what you’ve learned:

Encourage your team members to apply their new skills in their work. This not only allows them to practice and refine these skills but also contributes to the effectiveness and productivity of the team.

Allocate tasks or projects that allow team members to utilize their new skills.

Foster an environment where team members feel comfortable taking on challenges.

Regularly discuss experiences and learnings in team meetings.

S – Share your experiences:

Finally, promote a culture of knowledge sharing within your team. This ensures everyone benefits from individual learning journeys and fosters a supportive, collaborative environment.

Encourage team members to share their learning journey and experiences during team meetings.

Facilitate knowledge sharing sessions where team members can share insights and advice.

Promote peer mentorship within the team.

The FOCUS approach to leadership development will help you feel confident in creating a culture of continuous learning. 

The great thing about development is everyone needs it. You are either helping someone master their own role, or you are helping them level up their skill set and prepare to multiply their impact. But how do you know which step to focus on? We’ll dive into that on Sunday…

Jacob Espinoza is a leadership coach in Salem, Oregon. For more information visit JacobEspinoza.com.

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