An Important Message to Today’s CEOs from the Leaders of the Future

Dear CEOs,

Right now we are your employees, but in the future, we will climb the ranks, reach our full potential, and become the next wave of leadership. To get there, however, we need your help.

We know that leadership doesn’t look so great right now—almost half of the companies surveyed for Workplace Trends’ 2015 Global Workforce Leadership survey said that leadership is the hardest skill to find in employees. But you can change that now so we can be better prepared when it’s time for us to fill your shoes.

“Listen to your future leaders’ feedback, talk to them about their progress, and give them insights on how to improve.”

Here are 3 ways to ensure we have everything we need to keep your legacy going.

1. Embrace technology. Technology is not going to stop advancing. In fact, it will be critical for helping us getting our jobs done effectively and efficiently. So embrace new technology and encourage your up-and-coming leaders to do the same. And continue to explore new technology to better coach future leaders and help your employees be more successful.

2. …but don’t forget the human element. As technology takes a larger presence in the workplace, don’t become a robot yourself. Yes, there are lots of tools that guide employees through leadership development. But you still need to listen to employees and coach them through the process.

According to a Gallup survey, 44% of millennials who said their manager holds regular meetings with them are engaged, compared with just 20% of those who don’t meet with their managers regularly. In addition, 61% of employees surveyed by Deloitte said that having somebody to turn to for advice and who helps develop their leadership skills is beneficial.

As future leaders complete various levels of development, listen to their feedback, talk to them about their progress, and give them insights on how to improve. Blend tech with mentoring to give employees the best development experience possible.

3. Extend leadership development to all levels. I’ve seen the future, and the best leaders are those who receive training early on. If you want to develop future leaders, you need to start now—and you need to offer development to all employees, not just those one level from the top.

Offering leadership development at every level of the organization won’t just make for better leaders in the future, it will make happier and more engaged employees in the long-run. In fact, the most loyal employees in the Deloitte survey were more likely to agree that younger employees are actively encouraged to aim for leadership roles within their organization.

If you want strong leaders in the future, start developing them now—don’t wait until they’re already in leadership positions to give them the coaching they need. Your employees may seem average now, but with the right leadership development, they can become the leaders your organization will need in the future. Trust us, we’ve been there.


The leaders of the future

How are you developing the next wave of leaders? Share your story in the comments below!

Read more: Chief Executive’s 2016 Best Companies for Leaders