We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: empowering your employees is crucial for creating a healthy company culture, the foundation of memorable, impactful corporations. Employee empowerment takes many forms, but today we’re looking at how to help your staff develop and demonstrate leadership skills, no matter their level or career aspirations. If you’re a manager or team leader, keep reading to learn how to pass the torch to and light a fire in your crew members.
First Off… What Exactly Is Leadership?
We often use the words “boss” and “leader” interchangeably. But since not everyone will reach CEO, CFO, or team manager status during their careers, linking the idea of leadership exclusively to those types of positions may cause many others in an organization to feel detached from the term.
Leadership is simply positively influencing others towards the achievement of a common goal. It can occur on a company-wide basis as the organization’s vision filters down from top management to staff or on a much smaller scale as colleagues work together to complete a project.
5 Tips for Creating Top-Notch Leaders
It takes intentionality to build up, mobilize, and optimize leaders. Here are five ways to accomplish this:
Learn How to Spot Potential
Some employees demonstrate a natural aptitude for inspiring and guiding others. Others need support through continual learning and development to awaken these qualities. Whatever the case, remember that everyone has leadership potential. Many organizations fall short here because they focus only on the vocal, extroverted individuals with magnetic personalities and overlook the quieter, less charismatic folks.
Instead of focusing on personality types, observe team members more closely and look out for traces of leadership traits, such as empathy, initiative, accountability, and strong intuition.
Practice Structured Mentorship
One of the most effective ways to create leaders is through coaching and mentorship; almost 90% of mentored individuals proceed to counsel others. Effective mentorship includes:
- Pairing up the right mentors and mentees based on personality type, employee goals, learning style, and other key factors
- Teaching employees how to set practical professional goals
- Providing workers with tasks and projects that help build relevant experience
- Monitoring progress and providing actionable feedback on an ongoing basis
- Fostering mutual trust and respect between mentors and mentees by enforcing confidentiality
Focus on Each Individual’s Strengths
As mentioned earlier, not everyone will climb to the very top of the corporate ladder. And many people have no desire whatsoever to do so. That’s not a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination, yet companies sometimes focus only on grooming future managers and executives. Avoid this by understanding and respecting each individual’s career goals. Allow them to reach their full potential along the paths that make sense for their personalities, aspirations, and skill sets.
Teach the Necessary Skills
Solid leadership is simply a combination of various soft skills regularly put into practice. These include:
- Networking and relationship building
- Creativity and problem-solving
- Listening and empathy
- Training and coaching others
Check out this article to discover three ways to start making soft skills development an organizational norm.
Be a Guide, Not a Micromanager
Micromanaging is harmful on so many levels. It kills creativity, destroys productivity, screams a lack of trust, and breeds employee resentment. While this behaviour may not come from an inherently bad place, the results are undeniably poisonous. Here are some tips to avoid terrorizing your team:
- Let go of control by delegating tasks
- Take a step back and allow room for mistakes
- Request updates only at reasonable intervals
- Focus on the big picture, not the negligible details
- Be accountable to other leaders who can (gently) keep you in check