Leadership development is an ongoing process to enhance individuals’ skills, knowledge, and abilities to become effective leaders. Developing effective high-potential leadership programs is essential for organizations looking to cultivate top talent and drive long-term success. High-potential employees are those individuals who possess the skills, abilities, and motivation to take on leadership roles and make a significant impact on an organization’s growth.

Investing in their development helps retain these valuable employees and ensures the organization has a pipeline of skilled leaders to meet its future needs. It involves identifying and nurturing high-potential individuals to fill key leadership roles in an organization. A successful leadership development program can result in improved employee engagement, increased productivity, and overall organizational success.


Building a Solid High Potential Program: The Five Steps You Need to Know

1. Identifying Potential Leaders

The first step in developing a high-potential leadership program is identifying individuals with the potential to become successful leaders. This involves assessing their current skills, knowledge, and abilities, as well as their personality traits, values, and aspirations. Organizations can use various methods, such as performance reviews, behavioral assessments, and leadership competency frameworks, to identify potential leaders.

2. Defining Leadership Competencies

Once potential leaders have been identified, the next step is to define the leadership competencies required for organizational success. This involves creating a competency framework that outlines the specific knowledge, skills, and behaviors essential for effective leadership. The framework should be aligned with the organization’s strategy and culture and reflect key stakeholders’ expectations.

3. Creating a Development Plan

After identifying potential leaders and defining the required competencies, the next step is to create a development plan for each individual. This plan should be tailored to the individual’s strengths, weaknesses, and developmental needs. It should include various development activities, such as coaching, mentoring, job rotations, and training programs, enabling the individual to develop the required competencies.

Based on the SHRM 2022 Workplace Learning & Development Trends Research Report, a significant portion of organizations (37%) currently offer reskilling training, and a majority (56%) intend to introduce it within the next 12 months. On-the-job training (65%), coaching or mentoring (57%), and job shadowing (41%) are the primary methods used by organizations to reskill their employees for new roles.

4. Providing Opportunities for Practice and Feedback

Practice and feedback are essential components of leadership development. Providing opportunities for current and aspiring leaders to practice their skills in real-world situations and receive feedback from their peers, managers, and mentors can accelerate their development. Organizations can use various methods, such as simulations, case studies, and experiential learning activities, to provide opportunities for practice and feedback.

5. Measuring the Effectiveness of the Program

Measuring the effectiveness of the leadership development program is essential to ensure it achieves its intended outcomes. Organizations can use various methods, such as surveys, assessments, and performance metrics, to evaluate the program’s impact on individual and organizational performance. The results of these evaluations can be used to refine the program and ensure that it is continuously improving.

7 Best Practices for Developing High-Potential Leadership Programs

Developing effective high-potential leadership programs requires a thoughtful approach and attention to best practices in leadership development. Here are some key best practices to consider when designing a high-potential leadership program:

1. Align the Program with Organizational Goals: It’s important to ensure that the program aligns with the organization’s overall goals and priorities. This will help ensure that high-potential employees develop the skills and knowledge they need to contribute to the organization’s success.

2. Involve Stakeholders: Involve stakeholders such as senior leaders, managers, and high-potential employees in the design and development of the program. This will help to ensure that the program meets the needs of all stakeholders and is relevant to their roles and responsibilities.

3. Use Various Learning Methods: Use various learning methods to appeal to different learning styles and keep high-potential employees engaged. This could include classroom training, e-learning, simulations, case studies, and on-the-job training.

4. Incorporate Real-World Experiences: High-potential employees benefit from real-world experiences that allow them to apply their learning practically. This could include assignments, projects, or cross-functional teams.

5. Offer Ongoing Support: High-potential employees benefit from ongoing support throughout the program. This could include mentoring, coaching, and networking opportunities to help them build relationships and gain feedback and guidance as they develop new skills.

6. Measure Program Impact: Measuring the program’s impact is critical to determining its success and identifying areas for improvement. This could include pre-and post-training assessments, feedback from participants and stakeholders, and tracking of performance metrics.

7. Continuously Refine the Program: Leadership development is an ongoing process, and high-potential leadership programs should be continuously refined to meet the organization’s and its employees’ changing needs. Soliciting participant and stakeholder feedback can help identify improvement areas and ensure the program remains relevant and effective.


Developing a high-potential leadership program requires careful planning and execution. It involves identifying potential leaders, defining the required competencies, creating a development plan, providing opportunities for practice and feedback, and measuring the program’s effectiveness. By following these key fundamentals, organizations can create a pipeline of talented leaders equipped to lead the organization to success. Discover an extensive collection of our leadership courses led by facilitators with practical experience in the field. Enhance your leadership abilities and advance to the next level starting today!

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