Senior leaders are retiring in droves, but hiring’s been on hold for the past few years. As a result, you don’t have enough mid-level executives to replace aging Baby Boomers – and you’re facing a serious staffing challenge. As leading headhunters in Northern California, Pacific ExecSearch knows that one solution is to build a leadership pipeline on your team. Doing so will help you grow leaders internally, so you have the talent you need, where and when you need it.

Below are 4 steps for getting started:

#1. Look for high potentials.

Look for those people on your team who may not have the existing skills you need, but have the potential to develop them. Some characteristics to look for include a determination to get results, persistence in the face of challenges, a willingness to make tough choices, strong interpersonal / people skills, and the ability to influence others while still building trust.

#2. Provide them with stretch opportunities.

People can’t learn and grow if they’re not given the opportunity to do so. That means giving your high potential employees the chance to lead a project or important meeting, train staff members, or perform some other task that will help you better assess their leadership skills.

#3. Offer coaching and mentoring.

The ability to lead a team doesn’t come naturally to most people. It’s a skill that needs to be honed. To develop the leadership potential within your employees, assign them a coach or mentor who can act as a guide and sounding board, and talk about lessons learned along the way.

#4. Demonstrate good leadership skills.

If you’re trying to develop good leadership skills among your staff, then you need to model effective management. But you should take it a step further with high potential employees and spend the time to explain your thought process behind strategic decisions and allow them to sit in on important meetings. Also, talk to the employee about your own challenges on the job and how you plan to overcome them. Ask for their opinion and how they would approach the situation. This can help them develop their own sharp leadership instincts.

#5. Let them make mistakes.

It’s ok if your employee makes a mistake or struggles in a certain area. In fact, expect that. Keep in mind: Just because someone has excellent sales skills or communication abilities, doesn’t mean they’re automatically going to know how to lead a team. Instead, it’s up to you to provide them with low-stakes opportunities to help them boost their confidence and develop their leadership skills.

Do you need more help hiring leaders for your organization? As experienced headhunters in Northern California, Pacific ExecSearch’s team of recruiters can source, evaluate and help your company hire and retain mission critical professionals for top positions. To learn more, please contact us today.