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The Importance of Internal Leadership Development

When I was asked to give my two cents about the importance of developing leaders internally, I gladly agreed. I have held a leadership role for several years and have seen many of my team members grow into amazing leaders themselves (which I still swear to this day is the absolute best and most rewarding part of leading a team). Surely I can speak to the importance of offering formal training and development to our future internal leaders, right? Right.

With one catch – I’ve never been in a leadership development program. I was catapulted into a leadership role when I showed that I kicked butt at my job, was a positive role model for my teammates and was willing to speak up and say “pick me, pick me!” While being great at your job is definitely a first step to leadership, in reflecting on my leadership journey I realized something- a lot of the initial success that allowed me to be recognized as a leader in my organization had come from my laser focus on exceeding any goal given.

I didn’t get distracted by the office chatter, I didn’t let other peoples’ issues influence my work, I did everything I could to get my job done well. Awesome, right? Right- until you raise your hand to be the manager, convince someone to give you the job, and realize you have no. idea. what you are doing. Leadership development expands the tunnel-vision that makes top employees so phenomenal into a wider, broader vision of their company’s future and how they can impact the organization.

And let’s not forget, while employees gain a lot from interacting with and learning from the company’s current leaders; current leaders gain as much if not more by interacting with and learning from the company’s future leaders. After all, how can a company confidently state where they are headed if they don’t know who is getting them there?

Jamie is the Director of Organization & Talent Development at KellyMitchell.


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