Previously, we covered five ways to unlock your employees’ full potential and what the business stands to gain from it. This time, leadership skills take centre stage. McKinsey’s study says that nine in ten CEOs believe it’s the most critical issue in business capital, especially in constantly growing and expanding companies.
Scaling up requires vital people to guide them. And when current leaders leave the company, another will have to step up. In short, a workforce with leadership skills ensures that the business will persevere and thrive despite challenges. This post will uncover different ways to developing leadership skills in the workforce.
1. Provide more opportunities for growth
First, engage your employees in multiple work areas to ensure they don’t stagnate in their current job. A moderate increase in workload and working on versatile projects stimulate employees to learn time management and prioritization. The key idea here is not to overwhelm employees with tasks but to provide them with space for growth.
Moreover, job empowerment contextualizes the leadership training, ensuring that what employees learn is relevant to the company. Companies must also ensure that the training has sufficient reach across the organization, is designed to transfer knowledge, and has systems to ‘lock-in’ knowledge in employees.
2. Maintain a consistent feedback loop
Feedback loops regularly measure and review employee performance. They encourage continuous communication between employees and executives and boost business productivity and efficiency. Youth Employment’s blog post on feedback explains the importance of being careful with formulations when making comments about a person’s work habits:
- Criticize employees’ behavior, not their character.
- Don’t share negative feedback in front of peers.
- Minimize the chances of the employee feeling disheartened or losing confidence.
After all, constant feedback loops aim to improve employee performance continually, not rebuke them.
3. Have them work on their network
These days, despite the widespread shift to online events and digital business gatherings, networking is still essential. According to The Telegraph, online networking is a mix of professionals’ business dealings and personal lives. Employees need to be able to foster trust with their network to build a community of people they can tap into for help with future business ventures.
Networking is an integral part of honing leadership skills. Not only that, but it’s also essential to individual development and growth as a businessperson.
Start small within the company, like intimate networking events and casual get-togethers. Encourage employees to network with professionals outside of the business. Networking outside the company will help them build the confidence to connect and converse with teammates, clients, and other colleagues.
You can also join extensive networking programs which pair your employees with the best minds in the industry. Networking programs expose employees to experts outside of their chosen field and allow them to learn from experienced professionals.
4. Help them find a mentor
Businesses should encourage their employees to find a mentor to educate them on their job. A guide to mentoring by The Training Journal shares that mentoring is an excellent means of guiding employees in the right direction. In fact, mentees are promoted five times more often than those who don’t have a mentor in the workplace.
Leaders need mentors too. For example, Mark Markkula, an angel investor, become Steve Job’s mentor and Apple’s overseer, keeping the brand vision on track and mentoring Jobs throughout his time in the company.
5. Encourage them to get leadership skills training
As an alternative (or even a supplement) to mentorship, you can also encourage employees to continue their education in their chosen field. Many opt to take degrees in business administration, but employees can also opt for short courses in leadership.
The formal education in industry facts and trends will grant employees the baseline knowledge they need to lead with confidence. Alternatively, you can arrange for a coaching-based leadership training program to be arranged in your organization. This type of training emphasizes coaching skills and the ability to guide junior employees through their work. A study published on Frontiers showed that this style of leadership training was an effective strategy in improving employees’ coaching prowess, work engagement, and job performance.
To ensure that the company employees become competent leaders, you and the rest of the company executives need to set the bar high. Be a role model by taking responsibility for your mistakes, listening to employee qualms and concerns, and asking for help as needed. By emulating the type of leader you’d like the employees to be, you give them a blueprint to follow when they take on leadership roles.
While it may be tedious and even costly to try and teach leadership to the workforce, it provides plenty of benefits to the business. That said, it’s well worth investing in leadership training, not only for the welfare of the business but also for increasing employee competencies and engagement.
The article was written by Alicia Woods, an aspiring Content Writer.