Publication Date

Spring 2015


As global organizations flatten hierarchies in an effort to run lean, dynamic middle managers play an increasingly important role. The best companies emphasize succession planning, requiring leadership take a determined and disciplined approach to help leaders develop and rise within their organizations. As a means of investment, firms have established clear career paths and provided career development experiences for their organization’s highest potentials. High-performing organizations have narrowed their focus to foster and develop the following key competencies:

  • Change management capabilities are the top priority for high-potentials’ professional development. They should be prepared to influence and drive performance in a dynamic environment, where the only true constant is change.
  • A leadership mindset is equally important for middle managers looking to advance in their career. Consistently, organizations are redefining the term “leader” to apply at multiple levels, and not just at the highest level. This includes the capabilities to make tough decisions in ambiguous business environments.
  • Communication skills play a pivotal role in managing horizontal integration in complex organizations. The need to clearly and effectively communicate both up and down in the organizations is paramount.
  • Possessing an understanding of team dynamics should also be a high priority. The capability to lead and develop talent is also essential for maintaining momentum for the future growth.


Suggested Citation
Hwang, J. M., & Rauen, P. (2015). What are best practices for preparing high-potentials for future leadership roles?Retrieved [insert date] from Cornell University, ILR School site:

Required Publisher Statement
Copyright held by the authors.