Four Strategies for Cultivating Strong Leaders Internally

By Brigadier General (Retired) Bernard Banks, Ph.D., Monday, September 14, 2020

*This article was originally published by Kellogg Insight*

Strong leadership is a hallmark of strong companies. But it is often a resource in very short supply.

"It's not like there's this overwhelming abundance of great leadership talent, and every company gets who they need," says Bernard Banks, a clinical professor of management and associate dean for leadership development at the Kellogg School.

This means that cultivating leaders internally, while challenging, has a lot of advantages. And Banks would know, having spent more than 25 years in the U.S. Army before retiring in 2016 as a Brigadier General. In his role leading the Department of Behavioral Sciences & Leadership at the United States Military Academy at West Point, Banks found value in maximizing the leadership potential in every cadet, as well as in members of the Academy's staff and faculty.

But in the business world, Banks has noticed a disconnect in how companies treat leadership development. Even as more and more companies tout self-improvement opportunities as a perk in order to recruit new employees, internal talent development is not always resourced as a strategic imperative. Banks highlights that building a sustainable leadership team requires an ongoing investment in an organization's own human resources - and careful consideration of the talent it will need in the future.

"All effective leaders are effective leader developers," Banks says." The challenge becomes, are companies growing the leaders they need for today or the leader they need for tomorrow?"

Banks tells Kellogg Insight how companies can engage and develop their next generation of leaders.

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Brigadier General Bernard Banks, Ph.D.

ExpertiseLeader development, organizational change, organizational culture ExperienceBernard (Bernie) Banks is a noted expert on the subjects of leadership and organizational change. Currently, he is the Executive Director of Rice University’s Doerr Institute for New Leaders (and a Clinical Professor of Management within the University’s Jesse H. Jones Graduate School of... Read More +

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