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Where can one find highly effective Team Leaders?

highly effective team leaders

You may have noticed that despite the current recession it still remains difficult to recruit the right people into your organisation, especially front-line supervisors and highly effective team leaders. To find a candidate with the right skills, experience, and the ability to manage people effectively is like finding the proverbial needle in a hay stack. Even when you think you have got the right person; they often don’t live up to your expectations and can take ages to settle in. On top of that, a recruitment process typically takes too long and costs a fortune.

Surprising few organisations realise that their top future team leader might actually already be working for them at this very moment. Back in 2010 prof. Roy Green reported that “People Management is the weakest management area for New Zealand manufacturers”, with “promoting and retaining high performers” one of the weakest practices within this category. Our observation is that little has changed since. ‘Star performers’ will stand out in any organisation, and if we -as New Zealand companies- are not even able to retain those, it comes as no surprise that we have to hire for new positions, rather than fill them through internal promotions.

My experience at Toyota

I experienced a very different culture during my years at Toyota in the UK. Toyota is best known for their production system and the creation Lean manufacturing that revolutionised the car industry. However much of their success is down to the continuity and motivation that comes from developing their own people and promoting from within. At Toyota UK we recognised that through turnover and business growth we need a steady supply of capable shop floor leaders.

We selected a group of Team Members and put them through a 3-month training program that exposed them to the tasks they would be facing as a Team Leader, as well as off the job training and personal development coaching from an experienced mentor. This meant that candidates were ready when a suitable vacancy occurred.

How could this work in your organisation?

Why not start by giving your staff brief exposures to leadership roles? Observe and discuss their performance in these and combine them with general coaching conversations.  Doing so will not only generate leaders that know your organisation inside out, but these effective team leaders will also have developed a certain loyalty and commitment to the company that is so very difficult to create with new recruits.

There are many ways to grow and develop your staff to prepare them to take on additional responsibilities. I would love to connect with you and discuss how to start building internal capability in your organisation.

About the author: Adrian Tighe is a Senior Consultant at Productivity People