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Making Good Managers Part 4: Creating Effective Career Pathways

Making Good Managers Part 4: How to Plan Effective Career Paths

Cultivating good leaders is a perennial challenge for most organizations, and it usually requires some degree of intentional development. In Part 3 of "Making Good Managers," we briefly discussed this point.

Moving forward, let us dive deeper into career development. Besides leadership development programs, it's crucial to offer employees clear career pathways within the organization. These pathways enable employees to grow both as workers and leaders.

What Are Career Pathways?

A career path describes a person’s internal movement within an organization through promotions and, sometimes, lateral job changes. These pathways should not be haphazard but instead purposely designed in order to build up a pipeline of growing leaders. Ensure each job role on the career pathway helps employees gain relevant experience and skills for potential leadership positions.

  • Prioritize acquiring crucial skills.
  • Gain experience through progressive and attainable steps.
  • Build relationships with the people they’ll need to interact with as leaders.
  • Develop their own support networks.

How Do You Start a Career Pathway?

HR and stakeholders should discuss career path objectives, aligning the internal leadership development structure with company goals. Here, the organization is aiming to improve overall performance, while cultivating candidates who can meet future recruitment needs.

You might create multiple career pathways. For example, engineering, marketing, and product management are very different disciplines. It might be appropriate to create career pathways within each discipline, progressing through roles of increasing responsibility.

How Do You Map a Career Pathway?

Start with a single career pathway within a single discipline. Assemble a working group of managers and other stakeholders. Start mapping a potential career progression that starts with a new hire and potentially ends with a high-level management position. Avoid inadvertent dead-ends in the career path to prevent talented candidates from getting stuck at a certain level.

What about lateral moves?

Consider lateral moves as part of a career pathway. In fact, future leaders may need to move sideways rather than upwards to provide them with adequate growth opportunities. As they move up the career pathway, the number of open positions will decrease, and competition for those positions will increase.

Should you share career pathways with the employees on them?

Yes! In fact, letting employees understand that they have plenty of room for growth and upward momentum is a great way to improve engagement and morale. It’s also important to set expectations if the career pathway will include any lateral moves that would otherwise make the person feel like they’re stagnating at a certain level.

Once you have mapped the career pathways, what will you do next?

After putting the plan into action, monitor the new career pathways. Gather the results over time as well as feedback from those who use it. Ask yourself these questions:

Are workers successfully learning leadership skills? Are employees growing into their new roles? Showing promise for future leadership positions?

Adjust the career pathway by creating new roles, removing others, or changing duties to achieve the initial defined objectives.

Read more from the 'Making Good Managers' Series!

Explore the "Making Good Managers" series to uncover a wealth of valuable insights on leadership development. The series covers the key aspects of developing leaders, tailored to the needs of business owners like you. Learn about identifying high-potential candidates, fostering diverse perspectives, and enabling problem-solving skills.

Discover the crucial elements to construct a sturdy leadership pipeline and drive sustainable success in today's rapidly-evolving business environment. Follow the links below to start cultivating effective and distinguished leaders for your company's future.

Part 1: How to Hire or Promote the Right Leaders

Part 2: Fixing a Bad Manager

Part 3: Identify High-Potential Leaders

Part 5: How to Develop Good Leaders

Looking to create career pathways and develop potential leaders for the future of your business? CoAdvantage offers the resources and support you need. Contact us today to discover how we can contribute to your business's success.