If you manage employees, you probably noticed an innate blaze, that spark of leadership jump to life in at least a few of them. You’ve seen who takes charge when presented with an unfamiliar situation, and who successfully improvises when existing guidelines are too ambiguous to fully apply. You’ve witnessed your people show skill in visualizing goals and developing comprehensive strategies, and you know they have no trouble examining ideas from every relevant angle.
I’ve written before on important leadership lessons managers might take to heart if they want to see their business bloom. One essential tactic all managers would do well to master is how to multiply in number; how to create more of their kind. Good managers have a responsibility to guide great employees into the experience and techniques needed to succeed in a leadership position.
Facilitating your workers’ journey from greenhorn to leader can be daunting; it requires a level of willingness and mutual trust that takes time to develop. Helping employees come into their potential is far from impossible, however, and this list of three major strategies to keep in mind when developing your team from hard workers to capable leaders is sure to ease the learning process for all involved.
Foster employees’ networking skills
- Leaders have to be comfortable speaking and sharing ideas with strangers on a regular basis. Offering opportunities for networking within your own company allows for development of that effortless finesse for communication all great leaders possess, and bringing employees along to networking events will build them a formidable list of industry contacts.
Keep a steady flow of feedback
- Employees will never learn to identify and correct missteps if they are never told when they are misstepping. Criticism is never easy, especially when it has to come from you, but it is essential. And if your leaders-in-training have what it takes, they will realize the value in having a forum where concerns from both parties can be voiced and addressed.
Don’t Hold Hands
- We don’t grow from being constantly shielded. In the thick of struggle is where the capable evolve and succeed, and failure is just another opportunity to discover what went wrong. The fundamentals of growth hold just as true in a professional setting as anywhere else. Do your employees a favor, and tear off those training wheels.
Build employees’ ownership mentality
- Any amount of leadership training will mean nothing if a trainee doesn’t feel individually powerful enough to act like a leader. Allowing prospective leaders to handle decisions and giving them a bit more authority over business affairs demonstrates your faith in them, and reinforces their faith in you as a mentor.
What this all boils down to is rather simple: just be considerate of your employees’ positions. Think of how it was for you, when you were mastering the managerial ropes; think of what your teacher(s) did well, and how they could’ve improved. Believe in yourself: you have the knowledge and the experience needed to foster great leaders, now all you need is time.