Roadblocks to building a leadership pipeline - and how to overcome them

May 24, 2023
Roadblocks to building a leadership pipeline - and how to overcome them

Building a leadership pipeline is hard, especially when it means promotions at middle and senior manager level.  If you are running a business, unit or function, chances are, you consider every managerial promotion a calculated risk - and are concerned about the problems your promotee would face at the next level.

We wanted to fix on the major hurdles your managers face when moving up  to larger roles, and what you could do to help them overcome those. As always, we went to our clients for answers. With inputs from CEOs and heads of departments, as well as their HR, we identified three key concerns. These apply to middle and senior managers, moving up to the next level, to new responsibilities or control over a larger chunk of your business.

The latter part of the post presents a solution to these concerns.


  1.  Mindset change required - A  promotee usually needs to start thinking differently to perform in his or her new role. For example, instead of handling every aspect of day-to-day execution for his or her own little corner of the business, he or she may now have to delegate this and concentrate on a larger unit or region. They may have to move from efficiently executing mandates to actually setting them.
  2. Tools to handle larger issues - Whether its revenue-linked priorities or cross-functional decisions or even time management, they need new tools to handle new responsibilities and new frameworks to make new decisions. For example, a senior manager might now have to balance priorities for multiple regions, departments or units, and fit them into the company’s overall strategy, up from having to handle just one of them.
  3. Taking decisions with confidence - With a new role, pressure to perform and multiple spheres of influence tugging at them, newly-promoted managers have a tough time taking vital decisions. They need the confidence to take good, quick decisions based on sketchy data.

Many of our clients believe the best way to get over these is to let their managers wear their bosses shoes, so to speak, for a while before they assume responsibilities. Well-researched, ably-facilitated, tightly-curated simulation workshops let them do just that - experience increased responsibility in a risk-free environment which is nonetheless complex, realistic and intense.

Packed with scenarios that require tough,trackable decisions, and amply supported by tools to adapt to the changes above, a good program gets your managers ready, in mind and on paper, for their new roles.

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