It’s easy enough to find employees. Workers will flock to your available positions, assuming you offer adequate pay and enviable perks.
However, while your business might be overrun with employees, you probably routinely struggle to find leaders to keep the organization running efficiently and effectively.
When leaders are in high demand, the likelihood of you finding one to bring onto your team is low.
That’s why you need to draw from your current workforce to create the leaders you need.
Here’s how to identify candidates for leadership, train them and enjoy their loyalty for years to come.
1. Learn to Recognize Potential
The process of transforming employees into leaders begins long before a leadership position opens up.
In fact, you should consider hiring to be the first steps toward cultivating great leaders, even when you aren’t hiring for leadership roles.
Not all employees have the potential to become great leaders. Thus, if you expect to forge leaders from your workforce, you must be able to recognize leadership potential in job candidates.
Here are a few hallmarks of leadership potential:
- Aspiration: Employees should be eager for greater challenges and opportunities.
- Abilities: Employees should have a wealth of inherent or learned abilities.
- Engagement: Employees should be engaged with their work and their work environment.
2. Give Employees the Right Experience
The daily grind of the low-level grunt is never going to imbue employees with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed as leaders.
You need to focus on giving your high-potential employees the right opportunities for gaining appropriate experience.
You can do this in two ways:
- You can assign them unique tasks and projects. These real-world experiences should provide lessons in leadership and demand the application of skills and knowledge necessary to leaders. For example, you might appoint them team lead or give them more autonomy on an individual project.
- You can enroll them in advanced education. Advanced degree programs offer enviable credentials as well as formal instruction in the exact skills and knowledge they need to become great leaders. You can provide tuition assistance — which is a tax-deductible benefit — on an online MBA from a top California school, so employees can continue working full-time while returning to school.
3. Become an Active Mentor
By serving as a mentor to a few choice employees, you can provide one-on-one guidance to swiftly and effectively translate your knowledge, skills and outlook to your future leaders.
However, if you are unable to function as a mentor, you certainly need to create a mentorship program within your business.
Studies on mentoring programs have shown that the mentor-mentee relationship is beneficial, especially for organizations that hope to promote from within.
Menteess gain appropriate skills and knowledge for advanced positions and they can also acquire cross-training in roles they would otherwise not encounter.
Additionally, mentors and mentees benefit from extra layers of career support; both parties can commiserate on persistent stresses and work together to develop solutions.
4. Be an Excellent Example
Whether you choose to become an active mentor or not, you should always recognize your status as a role model for all your organization’s existing and future leaders.
Your attitude and behavior will influence those looking up to you, so you must perform the skills and practice the values you want your leaders to display.
Some qualities you might want to showcase include:
5. Maintain a Feedback Loop
It is important for low-level workers to receive feedback on their performance — but it is also critical that employees report on their satisfaction with leaders and the organization as a whole.
No one worker in your business is in a position to identify all the inequalities, inefficiencies and other issues presently slowing down growth; you need to encourage all employees and leaders to communicate openly to build up one another’s skills and behaviors as well as to ensure peak productivity across the board.
6. Establish an Ownership Mentality
Many good employees with high leadership potential will stray from your organization because they don’t feel sufficiently connected to their work or the business.
To combat high turnover rates, you should strive to develop within employees an ownership mentality.
This means that employees aren’t just accountable for their work; they feel a sense of ownership for their work, so when the business benefits, they benefit.
To employees with an ownership mentality, work is not merely a slog that results in a paycheck — it is a challenge that when overcome, will help everyone succeed.
Good employees can easily become great leaders — when you help them to flourish.
By taking the above steps toward a supportive, encouraging and open work environment, you will see more and more good employees rising through your ranks.
How Can a Good Employee Become a Great Leader?
If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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