The aim of this paper is to examine how organizations can support their leaders in taking on the challenges of their leadership roles, including how to effectively manage talent on a larger scale as they move up the ranks. The author aims to discuss the findings of a study by Corporate Executive Board (CEB) into the support required to move from being a business leader to a talent champion. This study built upon previous CEB research, which had shown that the way managers manage their teams can have a significant impact on key business outcomes. It aimed to explore practical ways for organizations to support executives in making the leap from managing an individual team to facing the challenge of leading a business unit or business function comprising a broad portfolio of talent effectively.
In 2009, CEB undertook a 360‐degree survey of more than 8,000 business leaders based in North America, Europe, Asia, and South Africa exploring managers' skills, their knowledge, the proportion of time they spent on tasks related to their role and their attitude towards talent management. The survey was also opened up to their own managers and their direct reports. CEB followed this by interviewing hundreds of heads of HR globally, to determine how involved business leaders are in succession planning and their accountability for talent and business outcomes.
The research found that there are four distinct types of managers when it comes to talent management, ranging from those who are committed and effective talent managers to those who are neither. The data showed that while strong talent management can raise employee effort levels by 25 per cent above average, less than a fifth of senior executives have the required levels of commitment to talent management alongside the effectiveness in delivering talent management practices required to drive these outcomes.
The research led to three key steps for organizations to take in order to encourage their business leaders to become effective talent managers. They are: forging a closer link between a strategic and business plan and its talent plan; supporting leaders to identify, develop and manage high‐potential employees; and establishing a culture of “soft” accountability practices for talent outcomes such as ranking and publicizing managers' effectiveness at retaining talent. The author concludes with two case studies of organizations supporting leaders in developing leadership skills.
This paper studies how organizations can support their leaders in taking on the challenges of their roles. The research identified four distinct types of managers when it comes to talent management and led to the formulation of three key steps for organizations to take to encourage their leaders to become effective talent managers.
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