There is a host of reasons you may want to develop leadership qualities in your employees, from the desire to promote from within to increasing the effectiveness of workers in your management positions. Possessing leadership skills will make employees better at every aspect of their job—they will make smarter decisions and provide valuable assistance to their peers among other benefits. This is not a task you can achieve in the short-term, however. You must continuously work to create this shift, and here are several ways to go about it. Provide Them with a Mentor
Whether it is you personally or someone else within your organization, provide employees with some sort of mentoring. This is one of the most effective ways to teach people about leadership. How to best accomplish this will depend on many individual factors, but make sure employees have one-on-one time with a mentor to discuss their goals and ideas they have for the company. This type of environment will nourish enthusiasm and encouragement.
Encourage Employees to Use their Leadership Skills
You can’t effectively create leaders without giving your employees the opportunity to put all the skills and wisdom they have gained to practical use. You want to create an environment where they feel they are a valuable part of the company, and feel comfortable sharing their ideas. It is important to develop a strong sense of trust, and allow employees to make certain decisions on their own. They need an opportunity to strengthen their leadership muscle, and this can only happen when they are allowed to take action.
Invest in Development and Training
Investing in the education and betterment of your employees is never a bad idea. Providing tuition assistance for degree and certification programs can be a great way to encourage employees to further their education and increase their skill set. Offer this assistance with an agreement the employee will stay with the company a certain amount of time after completing the program, and clearly defining their financial obligation to the company should they leave before a certain time.
Make professional development programs a regular thing, whether it be an in-office presentation for a few hours, or full-on retreats at least once or twice a year. For the latter, make sure to talk with a retreat facilitator to help design a customized program that covers the issues and goals most important to you. A monthly newsletter outlining industry news, meetings of professional organizations, and other information that will increase their knowledge is a good idea.
Acknowledge a Job Well Done
Employees are motivated to become better when their contributions are acknowledged; it is common to overlook this step. It is easy to assume employees know we are happy with their work by the sheer fact we have not expressed any unhappiness with it. But, you want them to feel a sense of pride that comes from recognition of a job well-done. That sense of pride is important to develop leadership. In many regards, you want to treat your employees the way you would treat your customers. Make it a regular habit to acknowledge good work and provide rewards such as a bonus or gift card.
Committing to the development of leadership qualities in your employees is committing the long-term success of your company, and that is certainly a good use of your resources.