Developing second line of leaders

Developing a second line of leaders

A leader’s role is to raise people’s aspirations for what they can become and to release their energies so they will try to get there – David R. Gergen.


If one has to make a list of the possible role of a leader, it would be a long list, however, we can classify all the roles into two broad categories.

  1. Getting things done by the team ; &
  2. Develop people.

Every business needs a second line of leaders who are independent and accountable.

The second line of leaders are the ones who share the vision of the top leadership, who have a good skill set needed to get the work done in the absence of top leadership. They are the ones who can easily transition to take senior leadership roles whenever the need arises.

Therefore, developing a second line of leadership is a very significant for organization continuity and growth.


Why do we need the second line of leadership?

1. It is significant to have a leadership pipeline for sustainability: Numerous studies have concluded that one of the scarcest corporate resources is leadership talent – Kent Jonasen, Global CEO LPI

In their book “The leadership Pipeline”, authors Ram Charan, Stephan Drotter, and Jim Noel suggest that if companies tap into the potential that is already there, there is a lot of talent that will help them sustain. They further add that companies can create an environment of growth for their leaders and support them in making the transition towards leadership.

Cultivating leaders for the future is vital to the company’s long-term health.


2. For the own growth of a senior leader: Senior leaders need to develop second in line leaders as that will pave their way to take up higher roles and responsibilities. It’s a win-win proposition.


3. Better delegation of work: In 2014 Gallup study showed that the entrepreneurs that delegate the work to grow at a much faster pace and they could set more aggressive targets for themselves. By delegating work, one can prepare the second line of leadership as they get exposed to different job responsibilities, and it allows senior leaders time to take up more ambitious projects.


4. They can focus on high-priority things significant for their growth: If senior leaders develop a second line of leadership, they can focus on their growth and other things that are of higher priority for them and the organization. It makes more time available for them as they can share most of the responsibilities with the second line of leaders.


How leadership coaching helps in developing the second line of leaders?

1. Leader gets clarity through executive coaching sessions about the need for developing leaders: Leadership coaching or executive coaching allows the leaders to step back and take an objective overview of their work challenges. It gives them insights about how they can move to the next level, and most often they realize that developing a second line of leaders is an effective way to not only reduce their work burden but essential for their growth to the next level.


2. Leaders get answer to following important questions:

Where are they in this growth journey?

Who are the team members who could be chosen ?

Why, When, and How?

Executive coaching helps the leaders become aware of their team dynamics and the individual potential of each team member, and how they can map the growth of each of their team members. It is because an executive coach asks questions that bring their focus on their resources and how they can utilize them for their growth and growth of the organization.


3. Accountability of having developmental/coaching conversations with the second line: During executive coaching, one develops accountability of having developmental coaching conversations with the second line. It brings a difference in the overall quality of relationship with their team. A lot of quality communication happens that increases the motivation of the second in line. This empowers the team to take challenging and progressive initiatives that make a difference to the success of the senior leaders.


4. Leaders start delegating more: Due to leadership coaching, leaders begin to recognize the importance of delegating more. It helps them achieve more with less effort.


5. Leaders learn to let go/trust more: The ability to trust is something that comes from within. During executive coaching, when leaders become conscious and aware of their strengths and address their fears and worries, they can trust more. It results in their entrusting more responsibilities to second in line leaders and developing them.


In leadership, the awareness of the fact that it is significant to have a second line itself is a powerful start.


Wherever we focus our attention, that aspect increases. So, if leaders focus their attention on developing the second line of leadership, they become more successful in achieving their goals, and it becomes a win-win for all.


If you are someone who is looking for executive coaching to develop their leadership skills, then you can contact coach Kshitij.


Kshitij has an experience of two decades of executive coaching, and he is well-known in the field of executive coaching in Bangalore and Executive coaching in India.

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