Future Business Managers: How to Build Leaders out of Your Best Employees

As a manager, you know that the success of your company depends upon the success of your employees. That said, some of your colleagues definitely shine above the rest. There are a couple of easy ways to help those star employees grow into greater leadership roles, and improve your workflow as a result. Here is what you need to know.

Listen to Their Problems

If your employees come to you with an issue, take the time to listen. Make them feel comfortable reaching out. Not only does this create a harmonious working environment, but it also opens up productive dialogue. Turn the situation into a teaching moment. Don’t give the solution right away, but tell your employees to brainstorm how to fix the situation themselves. Give them ownership so the next time it happens, they have the tools to address what’s going on.

Assign Them Extra Tasks

Your most motivated employees thrive on a challenge. They want to grow their skills with a larger variety of assignments. Give them opportunities to take initiative and practice being a leader. You can even suggest pursuing an MBA degree if your employees want exposure to other leadership styles. Then reward them on a job well done with a promotion that recognizes their talents. This encourages them to keep advancing, and also helps your organization retain the best workers.

Be a Role Model

It’s been said that you should “be the change you want to see in the world.” That quote also holds true in a business setting. Create the leaders you want in your workforce by being one yourself. If you notice consistent issues, set an example of how to behave, both individually and as part of a team. After all, a good leader doesn’t just take charge (although of course that’s a large part of it). A good leader also has the drive and discipline to pursue self-improvement. Recognizing your own flaws, and actively working to correct them will inspire your employees to do the same.

Have a Clearly-Defined Corporate Culture

Make sure your employees know what values your company subscribes to. This explains why you do things a certain way, not just how. Build their confidence with regular, informal meetings that remind everyone of the organization’s vision and goals. You can then easily identify the employees who are most closely aligned to that vision. Brand-awareness also shows you which of your workers demonstrate leadership by lifting others up in support of it.

Is leadership innate or acquired? The concept of nature vs. nurture comes into play here. When you’re a manager, it’s important to strengthen leadership in those who have already demonstrated this quality. It’s equally important to bring it out in those who many not see it in themselves.

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