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How can you find new leaders for your team?

Kate Allen, Executive Chair and Marketing Director, Allen Associates

Every team – large or small – needs a strong leader to sail the ship and make sure everyone is on track to achieve company goals. Managers and directors are critical to the success of your business, and because they need to be the right fit, it’s often difficult to find the person you’re looking for. As well as excellent decision-making capabilities, good leaders should be driven and committed, able to inspire others and lead growth. It’s a lot to ask for, so how do you attract and recruit for these positions?

Future-proof your business

Before you start recruiting for your next top role, take a moment to reflect on how your industry is changing and the direction you need to head in, in order to continue to stand out in your sector. Digital leadership, for example, has become essential for many businesses, that need highly-skilled thinkers to test and embed new technology and ways of working. In a fast-paced, changing world, managers today need to be agile and forward-thinking - able to respond to new situations. According to the Harvard Business Review, CEOs who excel at adapting are 6.7 times more likely to be successful. Knowing the skills you need to attract will help when you’re writing job descriptions.

Identify talented Employees for promotion

Can you name team members who are excelling and always rise to the challenge? Promoting internally aids staff retention – a survey of UK professionals conducted by LinkedIn found that 48 per cent of people will leave their job if they don’t have the right career advancement opportunities. Recruiting in this way gives you peace of mind, as you’ll be rewarding someone who already has a proven track record within the company. Internal Candidates will also be familiar with your company and its culture. To locate talent from within, look for those people who are consistently hitting targets and are always willing to contribute, taking on extra responsibilities.

Create a fast-track career programme

Have you thought about investing in a training programme? This approach takes time and effort, but if you’re finding it hard to recruit at the top level, creating a way for people to upskill and develop could prove to be a good decision in the long-term. Or how about a mentorship programme where junior Employees can meet with senior managers, build personal improvement plans and discuss long-term goals? Research from PwC shows that 49% of CEOs think it’s important to create a leadership pipeline in order to remain relevant and competitive. This type of initiative will not only help to create the next generation of leaders within your business, it will help to attract talented and ambitious people who want to work for you because you’re committed to career progression.

Recruit with potential leadership in mind

When it comes to finding good leaders, you should take a wide approach. It’s not just about the top positions; when you’re sourcing Employees for junior roles you should continue to recruit with leadership in mind. Look for managerial qualities which can be nurtured in time, such as the ability to listen, be open-mind, speed of learning and the ability to think laterally. Some Candidates may come across as natural leaders, but there are many different leadership styles - Charismatic leaders have an energetic personality and rely on natural charm to win over their team, whereas collaborative leaders are able to foster an environment where staff feel empowered to contribute. Some interviewees may not be an obvious choice for leadership potential. If you’re not sure about a Candidate, consider the type of management methods that suit your organisation and whether their personality is a good fit – in time they might surprise you with the way in which they develop.

Develop the right recruitment strategy

Recruiting people at the top is often difficult. Trusting someone to lead your business is risky if you don’t make the right hire, so it’s important to interview Candidates thoroughly, but this can be time intensive. If you need expert advice, it may be worth speaking to a recruitment agency who can guide you through the process. When it comes to specifying what you’re looking for in Candidates, try to be flexible on requirements, so that you have a wider talent pool to choose from. As well as skills and abilities, you’ll need to know what your potential Candidate is like under pressure and the values that motivate them- you should get an insight into how they deal with problem-solving, as this is likely to be a big part of their job. Finally, think about what you need to do to attract talented leaders. A survey of over 300 senior executives found that the primary motivator for changing jobs is accepting a more challenging or interesting opportunity. Make sure you have this in mind when you’re writing your job description and advertising for the role.

Over the last 20 years, we have grown as a business to become one of the leading independent Recruitment agencies in Oxfordshire, and in 2018 have opened our first London office, to service Clients in the capital.

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