Develop Leadership Capabilities: How CEOs Can Develop Future Leaders

international marketing

If you want your organization to grow, you must develop leadership capabilities to ensure you have folks to guide your future organization. Businesses must constantly look for ways to improve their performance and grow their business if they want to survive in highly competitive global markets. There are many ways that CEOs can achieve this, and one way is through leadership development strategies.

develop leadership capabilities
Image courtesy of Blue Steps

Leaders must constantly pass down key skills and invaluable business insights to prospective leaders to avoid gaps in knowledge in the future. But more than skills or maybe one of the skills leaders must pass down to their employees, is the ability to lead effectively. Today, we’ll discuss how CEOs can develop leadership capabilities with six simple steps.

Develop leadership capabilities

Leaders aren’t born, they’re created.

While some characteristics of leaders reflect natural skills, such as charisma and outgoing nature, more aspects of leadership involve skills anyone can learn such as negotiation, compromise, communication, and problem-solving. And, in flat organizational structures where most businesses function best, you need lots of leaders able to supervise, motivate, and hire employee direct reports.

So, the question becomes how to develop leadership capabilities across all aspects of your business? And, that’s the question we’ll answer today.

1. Switch up roles and responsibilities

It is crucial that your future leaders experience how to run each job within their department. To help them excel in their role, you should regularly switch up their roles and responsibilities within the department to develop leadership skills across a broad range of employees and to ensure leaders understand what it’s like to work in each job in the department. Although this may sound like you’re throwing employees into the deep end, it is important to remember that you need leaders who understand the various facets of the business and who are ready to pitch in wherever necessary.

Crosstraining employees give them an appreciation for others who work on the team as well as to fill in when someone is out or you need a few extra hands.

It is crucial that future leaders develop an understanding of the company from different perspectives. It can help to conduct your own research to gain useful advice on how to help employees take on responsibility.

Communication certainly plays a key role in leadership, and it is crucial to helping your team excel as future leaders.

2. Widen their exposure

Your future leaders likely currently work in one department or another of your company. For them to understand and appreciate all areas of the business, they should gain exposure to it. It’s time to encourage your leaders to explore the company beyond their department and familiarise themselves with all areas of business operations. Future leaders should educate themselves on their chosen industry while gaining insight into where the business is going in the future.

Involving workers in decision-making not only provides valuable insight from a variety of perspectives but also eases their concerns to make changes easier and gain more cooperation.

Don’t expect employees to embrace the notion of leadership or learn new skills. Some workers just want to do their job and get paid. But, you’d be surprised how many employees are happy to expand their capabilities and want to take more responsibility. A great example comes from Johnsonville, the sausage and brat company. The owner instituted a policy where workers received a raise every time they learned a new skill. Learn to schedule workers and you get a bump in pay; learn some aspects of accounting and get a pay bump. Workers could now control more of their work-life and wages. He also asked teams to solve problems when something went wrong. Not only did these actions help develop leadership capabilities, but it also made the team work together and perform better. 

3. Enroll them in training programs

Ultimately, future leaders have a great deal to learn and at times it can feel a little overwhelming to them. CEOs do not have enough time to dedicate to teaching future leaders 24/7 and it can help to enroll them into an executive strategy program. There are an array of fantastic programs and online courses out there that help educate your future leaders. These programs provide valuable knowledge that helps them excel in their roles in the future.

An online executive strategy program can take up to seven weeks to complete and it can equip your future leaders with tools to improve their strategic thinking and help them overcome the unpredictable nature of the business environment. For many, a course like this provides newfound confidence, helping individuals excel as a leader.

4. Show support

Taking on more responsibility is disconcerting to many people. So, it is crucial that, as a CEO, you develop support systems for your employees. While your future leaders are excelling in their role, they know you have support systems in place for when they need them.

Patience is also a quality that you should possess. Some future leaders may make decisions that you don’t necessarily agree with, but it is vital that you continue to support them as your support encourages them to learn from you and make better decisions in the future. There are some incredible online resources out there that can educate you on ways to support your employees. Clear communication and even a simple thank you can go a long way.

5. Challenge them

Challenging your future leaders and giving them difficult projects highlights their capabilities while helping them develop critical thinking skills. What’s more, by giving them more responsibility, you give them the opportunity to learn new skills along the way. You’ll find that the completion of these tasks boosts the confidence of your future leaders and as a result, this can enhance their commitment to your organization. This is because they realize what they can achieve, and some may be surprised at just how capable they are in these situations.

6. Provide constructive feedback

If you want your leadership development program to succeed, you need to give your employees regular constructive feedback. For your team to excel in their roles, they need to know how you view their performance and which aspects of their work need some work. Giving praise and advice encourages your team and gives them the motivation needed to complete the program. Constructive feedback is also highly valuable as it can help you identify any issues early and you can then work with your employees to tackle them head-on before they become a larger issue.

There are plenty of steps that you can take to give constructive feedback and all it takes is a quick Google search to gain access to some helpful resources. This step is one that holds huge importance, and it is crucial if you want your leadership program to succeed. Use the tips in the article to help.


When you develop leadership capabilities, you develop a strong future for your organization not only by having better leadership but by motivating all your employees toward a shared goal.

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