Developing leadership skills with the members of your team is not a task to be taken lightly. It requires time, patience, and persistence. But you will find that it is worth developing some of your team members leadership skills beyond their present capabilities.
Not everyone has the fortitude to be a leader. Neither does everyone on your team want to be a leader.
But for those individuals who you think have the potential, here are some techniques to cultivate their leadership skills overtly or covertly.
Always Set the Example
If you want to develop leadership skills in your team members, you need to look at how you approach leadership first. Whether you see it or not, your team are taking signals from your behaviour. Some ways to show exemplary leadership and set the example are by:-
If someone makes a mistake, you need to know it’s your blunder as well. Step up and get the problem fixed. If the problem continues, you need to find a way to deal with it privately, without broadcasting it to the rest of the team or company. You want your team members to know that you will back them all the way.
Don’t Over Exaggerate
Always give professional explanations using facts. If you get asked questions that can’t be answered, don’t be afraid to declare “I don’t know” or “I’m still looking into it”.
Don’t mix in assumptions or hyperbole to the conversation; otherwise, there is the potential for the problem to blow up. Be known for staying calm and collected under pressure, not hot-headed, emotional and one to shoot from the hip.
Don’t Be Ashamed to Ask for Help
Everyone needs help at some time. By asking for help, you are saving precious time by not maintaining a course of action that is proving futile. Being collaborative and brainstorming solutions to help solve a problem will show your team members you value other opinions and ideas.
Use All of Your Communication Skills
Good leaders have exceptional communication skills. They listen intently to what people say and use the art of asking the right questions, active listening skills and reading body language to understand the real message behind the words.
Generally, staff need more than a congratulatory hive five when they do something right or a formal meeting with the boss when there is a problem.
Don’t assume that people know precisely what is expected of them. You must sit them down regularly, even informally, and ask them questions about their work.
- Are they fulfilling their performance plan objectives?
- How is the workload?
- What are the challenges they are having at the moment?
Don’t wait until the next performance plan meeting to find out they have been struggling for four months. Get them involved and thinking outside the box for any solutions to problems they are experiencing.
Allocate Stretch Assignments
To develop leadership skills, you need to push for growth and expansion. Stretch assignments are tasks that are beyond the team members current knowledge base or skill level. They will have to ‘stretch’ to achieve the goal. They typically make the person feel uncomfortable. But the result is usually a fantastic feeling of achievement by the end of the assignment.
Allocating stretch assignments lets you observe the team members who are up for a challenge with a growth mindset and who wants to stay in their box.
Delegate Authority to Develop Leadership
To develop leadership, people must know how to act decisively. Delegating authority is about granting someone the authorization to operate without asking for permission or direction first.
It speaks volumes to the team member, knowing that you trust them, particularly if you provide them with something you usually would never release from your sphere of influence.
The best part of doing this – it liberates your time to focus on other areas of your job. Start small if you are used to micromanaging and holding control of all of the responsibility.
Encourage Further Leadership Training
For the staff you see leadership potential, encourage them to attend extra training. It doesn’t have to be an MBA straight away. Additional training or courses can be seen as an indication of an employee’s dedication to the idea of leadership. Taking a significant course requires time and resources. This will show you who is willing to step up and be challenged.
Provide Opportunities for Mentorship
Don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you should be the mentor and spend even more time at work. It is often useful to find someone else within the company or even outside the company. They have a detached view of the employee’s challenges and are better positioned to offer objective advice. Your employee will be more likely to talk freely with the person. Find someone who has established leadership skills and capabilities. That way, they are having more exposure to outstanding leadership skills.
Being tapped on the shoulder to take on more leadership is exciting and scary for the employee. By showing outstanding leadership in the first instance, your team members will find further leadership development a positive experience.