In a cutthroat business world, poor leadership quickly unravels projects and sets employees against management. Failing leadership impacts the bottom line of business so much, that four in 10 employees have cited leaving their job due to poor bosses and leadership.
As great leaders are made, it’s vital that you look to develop the leaders in your organisation to create a work culture that’s dynamic and responsive.
1. Have a process to identify leaders early on
You should look to identify whether any of your employees and new hires have the potential to be future senior leaders in your organisation. If your HR department uses tests to assess personality traits, this data could help to pick those who show potential. It’s also worth having a clear conversation during reviews with employees about their ambitions and career paths.
A workplace leadership and management programme could be an effective way to find, and fast-track employees suitable for leadership.
2. Support their development with suitable training
Even those with the potential to become great leaders will still need guidance and training. A lot can be learnt through trusting instinct and experience, but leaders in your organisation will become more effective with the right training. As with any skill, leadership can be refined. Stretch the abilities of your employees by putting them through recognised training programmes which are accredited by professional organisations such as CMI.
3. Understand that every leader is different
Just as every person is different, so is their path to leadership and their style of leadership. What motivates one leader will not motivate another. Be flexible in your approach and mentoring of each leader. Appreciate they each have different qualities to bring to the table, and adjust your processes and feedback accordingly.
4. Encourage them to network and interact with current leaders
Nurturing employees to become future leaders can be vastly helped by networking within the wider organisation. Too often in many organisations departments operate in isolation and communication becomes non-existent. Effective managers are good at communicating with various stakeholders throughout an organisation.
A shadowing programme is a great way to get employees working alongside the leaders in your company. Potential leaders get to see first hand how experienced leaders manage their day-to-day tasks and how they deal with any challenges. Shadowing programmes are valuable, so long as the leader being shadowed is a suitable role model.
5. Ignite their passions
Employees feel more engaged with their roles and organisation when they are passionate about their work, and clearly see the impact their role has. Leaders who are passionate and driven inspire others to follow, which helps with overall motivation and engagement within an organisation.
6. Challenge their skills and mindset
Challenge your employees with tasks that sit outside their skill set. The aim isn’t to engineer failure or time them on the task, it’s to see how they push their boundaries and how they rise to take on a new, unfamiliar challenge. Are they willing to learn new skills to complete it? Or will they determine it’s within their ability to complete? Being a leader involves dealing with challenges and developing a self-awareness that allows them to evaluate their behaviour.
Leadership is state of mind much as it is skills based. If someone wants to become a great leader, there is no fast track path that will get them there. It takes time and dedication to cultivate the right mindset that seeks challenges and constant growth. Everyone likes the idea of being a leader, but not everyone is cut out to be a leader.
Remember, leadership is a two-way street
You need to nurture the future leaders in your organisation with the best intentions, rather than because it seems like something that ‘should’ be done. You need to value that leadership is a two-way street of communication and feedback.
To develop energised, loyal, future leaders you need to offer them exceptional support and show them the same commitment that they show you. If you’re able and prepared for that, your business will succeed.