One of the most critical things you can do for the future of your company is developing new leaders. Leaders do more than set the agenda for your business. They are the people who inspire the rank and file to work to the best of their ability. A good leader can drive high productivity even with lower end talent. A mediocre leader gets lower productivity even with highly talented employees. Investing in building a team of strong leaders that you can rely on goes a long way to growing your business and helping your company reach its full potential.
Identify Potential Leaders
Leadership is a skill, just like anything else. Just like a basketball player works on their jump shot, individuals can work on skills that make them better leaders. These skills include communication, time management, organizational skills, and more. Almost anyone can develop into a leader if they have enough time and the right mentor, and the motivation. But you aren’t going to always have an unlimited amount of time to get the job done. That’s why you should look at identifying employees who already have several of the baseline skills necessary to become leaders, and they simply have to develop them further to grow into that role. You might notice that one of your employees works tremendously hard, and inspires his co-workers. Or perhaps another one of your employees is always organized, and her organizational skills help projects get completed faster. These are the kinds of employees you want to develop and help grow for potential leadership roles.
Act as a Mentor
Once you’ve identified potential leaders, you have to nurture them to help them reach their full potential. That means acting as a mentor. You should let your potential leadership candidates know that you want to act as a mentor for them, and that you want to act as a guide through challenging situations. Your potential leaders aren’t always going to get everything right the first time, and they will need someone who has been there before who can help guide them in the right direction. Some executive mentors have an open door policy, while others meet with specific employees for lunch once or twice a week to help mold and develop them into better leaders.
Put Your Employees in Challenging Situations
If there is no conflict and no discomfort, there is no growth. You have to put your potential leaders in challenging situations—leading projects, making company presentations—where they might fail. These challenging situations are where they grow and develop into better leaders and more effective employees. You won’t always be able to hold their hand and answer every question they have about the job. At some point, your leaders will have be able to handle challenging situations on their own, and handle them well. Putting potential leaders in new, challenging situations will help them to learn valuable lessons in becoming an effective employees.
Regina Fasold is a seasoned Executive Coach and Leadership Expert. Her extensive professional background and her 10+ years of experience as a Global Executive Coach have allowed her to assist over 300 senior executives in corporations throughout the United States and in over 25 countries around the world.