5 Ways to Prep Your Team for Leadership
Every leader wants self-motivated employees who can think and act for themselves. Once you reach a point where every employee is engaged and doing an excellent job staying motivated, it’s a good idea to start looking for new leaders among those employees. Here are five ways to instill leadership skills into your team members that will serve the company far into the future:
Let Them See You Work
A manager that stays shut up in her office all day is a supervisor without leaders-in-training. If you want your employees to be leaders, show them. Whenever possible, involve your staff in your leadership duties. Is there a meeting they can sit in on with a big client? Could you work together to design and deliver a presentation? Work to improve your own skills and knowledge and become a better leader yourself. Lead by example and include your team in gaining new abilities.
Let Them Lead
Macro manage, don’t micromanage. Your staff will never learn to lead if you are constantly doing it for them. Motivating your team members comes from putting a challenge in front of them and letting them rise to the occasion. Have your most competent employees take ownership of a specific project, and make sure you publicly praise them for their successes. Check-in on them occasionally, asking specific questions about the project, but try not to solve the challenges for them. Let them design their own ideas and implement them. Self-motivated employees are leaders in the making.
Let Them Fail
It will happen. People make mistakes. Sometimes it is hard to let your team members fail when you can see it coming. Weigh the consequences of the failure. If it is a low-risk situation, let them fail. Learning how to lead takes practice. Help them evaluate the situation. What went right? Wrong? What should they do next time? Support them in their effort to understand the failure and grow because of it.
Let Them Fix Their Own Problems
When they do fail, make sure you’re in a position to defend the mistake but not necessarily swoop in and fix it for them. (That’s what some parents do, and it’s why some kids don’t know how to tie their shoes until the fourth grade!) Ask your employees what the problem is and brainstorm how they are going to fix it. “What is your plan to get past this mistake?” You can always lead with grace and ask them: “Do you want my help with this?” Good leaders remove roadblocks so their employees can succeed.
Let Them Know You Care
Make sure to frequently let your staff know how much you appreciate them. Connect with them in person whenever possible, but a quick email or a handwritten note thanking them for a job well done can be inspirational. Be specific, applauding individual aspects of their work and their role in the team’s successes. A simple thank you motivates your staff to continue pushing forward even in the face of adversity, a vital skill for would-be leaders.
Follow these guidelines as you lead your staff. It takes time and effort to create Better Leaders, but the end result is an amazing contribution to your organization and a reputation as an employer of choice.