Where do leaders come from? And how do people become good leaders? For a few it just happens. They have natural talents and abilities – they are inquisitive and self-reflective – they have high emotional intelligence. But for most it’s because an investment was made in them. Someone took an interest in them, guided them, mentored them, and provided them with training so they could broaden their understanding of leadership, and gain tools to help them lead effectively.

A young, talented, motivated team member is coached, mentored and guided by a more experienced leader – inside or outside of your company. Making this investment not only increases their chances of success in their leadership role, but it also encourages and motivates them – increasing their energy in their current role, developing them for a future role. Two of the top 3 reasons an employee stays engaged in their job are they know someone cares about them, and they continue to learn and grow in their role. We certainly all want our young leaders to know they matter, and to support their continued development.

On the flipside, what happens if a company doesn’t make an investment in developing its young leaders? We can only speculate, but it’s not too hard to imagine what goes on. Good, young talent leaves; they become discouraged and bored; they talk with their friends and family about the lack of opportunity; they keep all of their good creative ideas to themselves; they don’t reach their potential – so you don’t reach your potential…..the list could go on. It’s a bleak situation – and not uncommon.

So, as you think about your role as a leader, think about the leaders you want – and need – to grow.  What investments should you be making in each person to insure they reach their full potential? Who on your team has natural people leadership talents? What investment will you make in them to kick start their career as a future great leader of people? The payoff will be well worth the investment!