In the olden days, a company never spoke about who their next leaders would be. Succession plans were always kept a secret. Now, with the baby boomer generation retiring, companies are scrambling to groom future leaders. Developing a pool of leadership talent is becoming transparent within organizations. Do you want to be considered for future leadership roles? Are you prepared?

What Is a Talent Pool?

A leadership talent pool is a system developed by an organization to fill the talent pipeline for the future, not for today. The company identifies key people with a wide range of competencies, including the ability to think forward. The organization is committed to a culture of high-level leadership education to assist and retain the emerging talent. By combining the aspirations of the individual with the leadership characteristics required by the organization, future leaders will be available.

What Are the Benefits?

The key ingredient for a successful talent pool is identifying the leadership strengths an organization needs, and comparing them with the needs of the business. These components create “bench” strength. Committing to and maintaining this philosophy sustains the organization’s future.

The talent pool is of particular importance to companies because the business strategy is now shifting from a global market to taking care of the USA first. In this competitive environment, a talent pool communicates to shareholders, customers and the outside world that the company is indeed planning for the future. The Corporate Leadership Council’s study on succession management, “Hallmarks of Leadership Success,” revealed that “top-tiered leadership teams achieve shareholder return that is 10 percent higher than their industry peers.” More importantly, a company that provides a transparent succession plan communicates quite clearly to current and future employees that management is committed to attracting high-level leadership performers to the organization and results in higher shareholder return.

Characteristics of Leadership

Leadership talent pools have various assessments and methodologies in place to appraise potential leaders.  Emotional quotient (EQ), intelligence quotient (IQ), skills, stress management, personality, and leadership-style assessments are traditional. The challenge for organizations is matching the leader with the chief executive officer’s perception of the leadership characteristics required for the company. One would assume that leadership characteristics would be the same.

Some typical attributes we traditionally ascribe to leaders are the following:

  • Constant learner with a broad base of business knowledge
  • Identifies and showcases the talents of others
  • Is insightful; sees things from different perspectives
  • Is courageous and a risk-taker
  • Respect for diversity and cultural differences
  • Learns from mistakes and is open to feedback
  • Values coaching and training

The important point here is that leadership is about learning and the journey. Effective leaders are open to learning because the challenges keep ebbing and flowing. Do you know the leadership characteristics your company values?

 What’s in It for You?

Leaders and high performers crave accelerated development, exposure to diversity and cultures, interesting experiences, and achieving awards and opportunities to keep them growing and learning. The members of the leadership talent pool must also be told that they are valued and are being groomed to take on more responsibilities. Participation in a talent pool garners respect, offers of salaries and positions reflecting your value, and involvement in the development of organizational strategy.

Have you communicated your interest? Are you prepared? Are you up for the challenge—and the rewards?

Michele Wierzgac, MSEd, speaker and author, promises that you will leave her solution-driven keynotes and workshops with at least one passionate, life transforming, leadership tool – something that will change the way you seek out a solution and practically apply it without getting stuck.

Email Michele at or give her a call at (708) 710-7055!