Leadership and succession planning go hand in hand for most small businesses. If you are a founder of a small business, it's always  important to earmark who in your organisation is going to lead your company, reinvigorate your staff and your product or service, and create fresh blood that catapults your business to heights you never imagined possible.
To be great, it takes more than just believing.

It is hard for a small business owner to realise that they may not be the right person taking their business forward, but the smarter the entrepreneur, the more in touch they are with their own capabilities.

If as a small business owner, you are happy with the position you are in right now and don't want to change, then perhaps, investing in your future leaders is not an option but for everyone else, there is much to consider.

We look for many things in our future leaders, but mainly their ability to lead people and understand the business with a vision to move forward. Adaptability, self-confidence, proactivity, reliability and ambition are all key to being a future leader.

Last week a good friend of mine was having a chat about the company he worked for and how for the past 18 months, the owners had earmarked him to run the company. Now this has not happened yet and to be totally honest, may never happen, through no fault of my dear friend. The owner hasn't invested one cent in teaching, coaching or educating my friend to be a future leader of the company, so if they were to put them there tomorrow, he would definately be set up to fail.

To go from being an employee, a team leader or an area manager, is very different to running a company, understanding a balance sheet, human resources policies, sales targets, and product innovation.

These things require training. It's fine for a small business owner to say to their employees that one day they are going to be a leader in the organisation, but to actually make the steps to ensure that this happens is a whole different 'kettle of fish'.

As a business owner and entrepreneur, I know first hand that you cannot put someone in a position of authority and leadership without giving them the right tools to succeed. Otherwise, you are setting them up for failure.

A sportsperson doesn't make the Australian Swimming Team without training, coaching, improvement, motivation, the right equipment and so on. They make it because all of these things working together in synergy with their body and capabilities, gets them there.

Being earmarked as a future leader of a company is no different.

Future leaders need interpersonal skills, management skills, communications skills and certain personal behaviours to be successful.

Things to consider for future leaders include:

An ability to;
  • set goals and expectations
  • give performance feedback (good and bad)
  • motivate staff
  • manage and resolve conflict
  • give praise when needed

They need to have;
  • Leadership qualitites
  • Empathy
  • Risk taking capabilities
  • Desire to be the best
  • Good gut instinct
  • Respect of their peers
  • A sensible head on their shoulders

Oceanbiz Leadership Institute has an intensive Diploma of Management Course that starts in April. I highly recommend companies finding courses like this to send their future leaders to. If you just keep telling your employees to work hard and one day they will lead your company, soon enough they will realise that they need to move on and find a company that invests in them and improving their capabilities so they can fulfil expectations of management.

I have earmarked this course, because it falls under the Government Certified Courses ensuring that any out of pocket is minimised. It also means that it is a two-way street for both the employer and the future leader, as it is held on 7 consecutive Saturday's and not during the week. What it says to me is that the future leader is serious about moving up the ranks and doing the best job they can by taking time out of their own personal time, and the employer is serious about improving the skill base of their future leader.

It doesn't have to cost a fortune to invest in employees. It's all about doing things smarter and finding courses like this that is a W
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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