Two steps to establishing a strong leadership population within your organisation

Leading an organisation is particularly complex in today’s ever-changing environment, with a multitude of often-conflicting challenges. Firstly, a lack of succession planning is hindering businesses’ ability to maintain long-term success, as just 1 in 3 organisations have a formalised plan for succession in place, while 39% of HR professionals agree that inadequate talent pipelines, among other factors, have left their leadership population unable to respond to changing business needs.

These insufficiencies in talent pipelines and succession planning are likely stemming from diversity, equity and inclusion issues being seen at the highest level of organisations. Recent research has found that large majorities of black, Asian and LGBTQ+ employees believe they have been overlooked for employment opportunities, including promotion, because of their identity; while poor representation of women at a senior level continues to plague the working world, with roughly 50% of smaller listed companies still without a single woman in their most senior positions.

And on top of all of this, the way in which leaders operate is coming under increasing scrutiny. It’s no longer enough for a leadership team to simply achieve results – they need to be doing so in the right way, and in compliance with ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) expectations placed on them by employees, customers and shareholders alike. In fact, more than half of surveyed adults said they actively consider companies’ social, environmental, moral, political or religious values when choosing which brands and products to buy.

So what can organisations do to equip their leaders to combat these challenges?

A two-step approach to establish a more effective leadership population

Assessment: Firstly, psychometric testing and assessment of existing leaders will help identify what skills are already available within the business, and which are missing – thus informing hiring and development decisions. Then, whether looking to hire externally or promote from within to address these gaps, unbiased assessment practices will help to counteract any pre-existing unconscious bias that has a foothold within the organisation, by ensuring each individual is appointed based solely on their ability to lead in today’s world of work.

By utilising anonymous, skills-based assessments to drive unbiased recruitment and development processes, businesses will be better positioned to take a step towards addressing any diversity issues within their leadership population, while highlighting the organisational compliance with the expectations of its key stakeholders – with DEIB being a major focal point of ESG.

Leadership framework: Once assessment has been fully integrated into the DNA of the organisation, criteria around the skills and behaviours that are needed for good leadership can be established and form the basis of a comprehensive leadership framework. All existing and potential leaders can then be measured against these criteria to identify which individuals are well-equipped to lead in today’s complex environment, as well as in the future.

Consequently, organisations will be able to establish a healthy pipeline of talent to call upon as the business moves forward; whereby individuals possessing both the natural ability to become an effective leader, as well as a willingness to learn, have already been identified and can receive ongoing development support to ensure they fulfil their potential. This in turn will help to alleviate the challenge of succession planning by guaranteeing that a suitable successor will be ready to step in whenever a leader exits the business or changes role.

The business will need to review their leaders and the leadership framework on an ongoing basis to assess progress and performance in relation to pre-determined goals. This will provide senior decision makers with the information needed to map the ongoing coaching and development of their leadership population, thus ensuring each individual is equipped to drive and maintain business performance.


Right Management’s Leading with Impact framework has been designed to help you  generate data and insights on the effectiveness of your leadership population – find out more in our recent webinar.