When you hire new employees, unless it’s for a specific leadership role, you likely aren’t expecting them to immediately carry the rest of the team. It takes time, experience and patience to see employees transform and grow within a company.
Over time, it’s natural for your employees to desire more responsibilities, a greater chance for growth and an opportunity to give back to the company by becoming a leader themselves. As a manager, you have the unique opportunity to foster this commitment and growth and transform your employees into strong members of the team.
How to develop leadership skills
Some people have a natural instinct for leadership and want to become a leader in the company right away; other employees, while they have natural talent, need to be guided and instructed further before they feel comfortable stepping into a leadership role. As a manager, you can craft opportunities within the workplace to help hone these skills and set your employees up for success.
By fostering leadership skills, you can, in fact, benefit your company. Those employees who feel like they have room to grow, who desire to be promoted and who feel like the company honors and encourages these desires are more likely to work hard and remain dedicated to their business for a longer period of time.
So, how do you promote leadership skills and development?
We’re glad you asked.
Demonstrate leadership traits
You can encourage the development of leadership skills by being a good leader yourself; actually, one of the best ways to make leaders of your employees is to not just talk about being a good leader, but by demonstrating strong leadership traits in your own role as supervisor/manager. Great leaders earn respect from their employees by being respectful, honest and trustworthy—ironically, some of the same traits that make up great people. Simply by showing you are ethical, you can encourage employees to cultivate these traits too.
If you hold yourself to a high standard of leadership, your employees will feel compelled to do the same. Leading by example is one of the greatest ways to teach those around you.
Invest in training
You can make leaders of your employees by investing in their training and professional development by taking the time to craft a leadership program. After all, you aren’t the only person who can turn your employees into great leaders. Send your promising employees to conferences, workshops and training courses that touch on leadership topics and promote the kind of leaders your business needs. You don’t always have to send them on expensive trips, either. Webinars, podcasts and online conferences can also support leadership development.
Take into consideration the mission of your company and let that guide you as you design a leadership program. By finding conferences, continuing education, etc. that go in line with the company’s goals, you can craft leaders that blend harmoniously with the business itself.
Employees who are given important responsibilities in the company can test their skills, but the gift of responsibility also makes them feel valued and invested in their role. Leaders, of course, must be able to claim and handle responsibility well. Business owners or managers who do it all aren’t providing their employees with the learning opportunity to do some of the important work. If you intend for your business to grow, hand off tasks and assignments to those employees who have expressed interest in increasing and expanding their skillset.
To make leaders of your employees, you will need to encourage them to work seamlessly with their teams. Quality leadership isn’t about bossing other adults around; it’s about building and working with those around you.
Teach your employees to network and collaborate with other employees. Their ability to interact well with a team will serve them once they take on their own leadership roles. By promoting communication and collaboration, you can encourage employees to value these pursuits within the business setting.
Need help developing a leadership program?
Some people are born leaders, but some people can grow to become extraordinary leaders when they have mentors who invest in their development. By helping your employees to grow, you give your colleagues the gift of your time and knowledge, but you also enhance your business climate and the people who make your business work.
If you need more guidance in building a leadership program within your business, reach out to Mazziti & Sullivan EAP for help.