5 Ways HR Can Help In Leadership Development

Leadership Development
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Good leadership is important for every organization. It gives direction to the corporate efforts. This aligns the collective output of the workforce towards company’s goals. Recruitment for important roles can be a difficult job. Finding the right candidate that matches all needs is rare to happen. It becomes more difficult when this comes to leadership. Most companies struggle to get the right leadership. There will be a vacuum created by leaders retiring from their current positions. This is why there is high competition to get the leaders into the firm. That sometimes causes important positions to stay vacant for a long time. Every firm wishes to fill these vacancies as soon as possible.

Relying on outsourcing for leadership can be risky. There might not be always enough time to find the right person. The company may have to wait for a long time to get the leaders. To ensure that these kinds of things do not happen, firms should develop leadership internally. This way there is s always someone to take up the job as soon as someone steps down from the position. It is the responsibility of human resource management to get the best people in the workforce at every level. The HR role in leadership development can be significant. They can identify the leadership qualities and skills to nurture them. HR is also likely to stay unbiased during this process and hence the right people for the job from the employee’s perspective. This is more convenient as these people are already aware of the company culture. They can quickly adapt to their new position. There are various ways to nurture leadership in the company. Below are 5 ways HR management can help leadership development.

  • Recruitment and Promotions

Policies related to recruitment, appraisal as well as promotions should be designed with the company’s need for leadership in mind. The hiring process should ensure that enough people with the leadership skills, or potential is joining the team. These skills, then, can be nurtured to develop future leaders. Recognizing leadership qualities should not stop at recruitment. The appraisal can include these skills too. It gives employees a sense of recognition. Keeps them motivated to show and use these skills. The employee should be reminded that these qualities are important to the organization. It also helps to identify these skills in those employees who did not show these qualities before.

Also, pay attention to the promotion criteria. Design it according to the skills that the firm looks forward to nurturing. Those who excel only in technical skills may not be a good fit for managerial roles. This ensures the advancement of people with the right skills on the organizational ladder. The leadership this way will be comprised of people with leadership qualities. There should be a proper succession plan. When someone is to be promoted to a leadership role. The success of an organization depends heavily on leadership. Developing the right leadership training plan and onboarding system is very important.

  • Training

Often it is seen as employees are promoted to strategic roles without any prior training. Seniority in the firm is the only criteria used many times. Companies need to understand that these are different roles. If someone is good at their present role does not mean that they can be good at managerial roles too. There has to be a certain level of understanding of the responsibility. Leadership skills can be developed through training. Human resources can arrange such training for employees before they take up the role. A good HR leadership development example can be to allow knowledge transfer to future leadership. Candidates should know in advance what their new position requires.

Aside from technical knowledge, there are other skills like good communication, negotiation and strategic management that are necessary. The right decisions are important for managerial roles, and these skills can be very supportive for these. The person in the managerial role needs to have a long-term view. The decisions should be made accordingly. There can be periodic training sessions to develop those soft skills or a single training program for a particular role. This makes people better equipped for their new jobs. It also helps them to be better at their current position. Sometimes those who are already in leadership roles need training too. If candidates are not already trained when they are promoted, an onboarding program can be arranged to make sure that they have all the skills they need.

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  • Employee Centric Approach

It is important to have an employee-centric approach while developing leadership. The order and follow system does not hold relevance anymore. Leaders now need to be people-centric. The present managers in the organization need to show the skills that are necessary for such roles. The operations at the company must be more people-centric. The inclusive way of decision making also helps to increase employee retention. Instead of following the traditional hierarchical structure, a more horizontal design can be adopted. It facilitates more participation and contribution in the process. This is better for the development of team players as well as leaders.

Candidates with good interpersonal skills can be better leaders. Along with this, communication skills are also important. The faster and better the expectations and decisions are conveyed to the team member, the more engagement it gets. The leaders are there to support people to give their best and give direction to the efforts. If managers lack the necessary skills while working with people, it is likely to cause friction.

  • Organizational Structure

Most corporates today have adapted to the flat structure instead of the hierarchy-based system. The informal structure gives employees more space and freedom to work on different projects. The interaction among the team members, as well as superiors, stays more fruitful as communication flows smoothly. This organizational culture keeps the workforce more involved and encourages initiatives. This can be very good for nurturing leadership qualities in the workforce.

In such an organizational culture the management should have a better understanding of the structure. As the teams may keep forming as demolishing for various projects. The responsibility needs to be well understood to avoid any confusion. HR can include understanding the structure and the responsibilities at the various levels, as a part of the formal training or onboarding process. It saves a lot of time that might get wasted in possible confusion and makes leaders better equipped for their positions.

  • Including Current Management

We all understand HR importance in leadership development. The human resource department can take help from current leadership for the future. It helps to make leadership development even better. The required qualities can be identified and nurtured through the right recruitment, appraisals as well as promotion policies. Asking current managers about their opinions and suggestions can be very helpful. As they are in the role themselves and understand the requirement to do their job properly. This also makes sure that candidates are chosen based on their actual day-to-day performance. The seniors are well aware of the importance of leading and the potential of their team members. This gives HR the necessary insight that is more than the analysis. It is based on actual performance and the skills that shine in the employees.

The managers can also help to come up with the right suggestions about the right skill set for the role. They can further identify which particular skill or skill set the person needs training for. We live in a digital age where the processes we work with keep changing continuously. Adaptation to new technology can be key to staying relevant and keeping up productivity. Human resources can also provide training to managers which are necessary for their performance. The same can be extended to the potential leaders of tomorrow in the company.


It can be challenging to get the right people for the leadership role in the organization. It is not good to keep these places vacant for a long time. HR can avoid this kind of scenario by developing future leaders inside the organization. Human resources can play an important role in ensuring that there are good leaders for the future of the company. The criteria for recruitment, promotions and appraisals can be designed to nurture the necessary skills. Current managers can be involved in the process, and HR can get valuable insights about potential candidates. A formal training program can be designed to make sure that the employee knows all the methods, strategies and possess the necessary skills for their new role. HR can also design an onboarding process for those who did not get prior training for the role as soon as possible. This way the availability of the best people for various levels can be assured.

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