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How to Create Leaders in the Workplace
Are leaders born or are they made? I will do the most logical self-preserving action I can do - dodge this question for now. Although the title seems to presuppose that leaders are created, it’s not my intention do so. Apart from SEO and keyword ranking, the word “create“ reflects the need for companies to shape key employees into the type of leaders management want them to be. So whether you are a born leader or a block of marble requiring some chiseling, the company still needs to fashion you into the right type of leader.
Suffice to say, this is no easy task. But I’m audacious enough to venture into this tough job. So here it goes…
Identifying the leader in the workplace
First thing’s first, you need to select the leaders from the brood. Many managers use their gut (not literally of course) to choose leaders. But when all guts are examined and the stench settles down, some commonalities in the way leaders are chosen emerge:
- Ability to influence others
- Ability to understand both the grand scheme of things and the intricate details
- Offers solutions and alternatives
- Has an understanding of the processes of the company
- Can think well beyond one’s self
- Has passion for his work
So snoop around and see who fits the profile. If you’re lucky you can identify a few. Shortlisting is always a good idea. The methods can vary from an MMA no-holds barred cage match to rock - paper - scissors. Even though I lean towards the MMA bouts more, I’d suggest going for more traditional shortlisting strategies like employee evaluations, performance and competency audits or some other similarly boring methods because they actually work.
6 Important Workplace Articles
- How to Become an Extraordinary Employee and Get Higher Pay
- Effective Communication in the Workplace: Poor Questions That Sap the Creativity of Good Employees
- How to Get Respect in the Workplace
- Turn Workplace Motivation Theories into Practical Employee Programs
- Employee Grievance Center…Employee Concerns Falling On Deaf Ears
- Management Failure: The Minion-Minded Manager
Empowering to lead
Now that you have pinpointed employees you think are leader material, it’s time to entrust them with responsibility. Craig Groeschel could not have said it better: Delegating tasks creates followers. Delegating authority creates leaders. An important component of creating leaders is giving them authority.
Wait, don’t be tempted to simply give them your duties and hope for the best. I know, they’re the ideal fall guys when things go south – isn’t that convenient? However, you should always be accountable for their actions as you are the one who gave them the power.
So why take the risk and stick your neck for someone? Well, that’s what leaders and managers like you should do. Believe in the capabilities of your people, develop and train and of course learn to empower.
- Start with the small stuff and work your way up to more critical functions
- Give authority based on their strengths and expertise
- Let all employees know that you gave them authority
- Clearly set the limits of their authority
- Set expectations
- Let them know that they will be evaluated
Coaching the leader
Leaders need a coach. Even the top guys have a mentor. In this case it is you. Don’t point your finger at the training department, that leader-to-be is your responsibility. Coaching is like being the Master Jedi and having a padi wan. No, you don’t go out and twirl around laser swords although it’s tempting. Rather, you direct and teach them the ways of the business and the ills of the dark side.
Think of it this way, basketball coaches no longer teach players how to dribble the ball or shoot hoops. Instead, players are directed on what to do on the court. As such, application of skills and knowledge is crucial here. Moreover, bank on the employee’s skills and knowledge and build on it. You guide the employee in using his skills and knowledge in office matters.
- Pay attention to the employee’s knowledge and skills
- Teach them to lead based on your corporate culture
- Encourage them to explore and challenge their capabilities
- Create a learning plan
- Give constant feedback
Employees need to be tailor-made for the business. Each business requires certain qualities. Likewise, the corporate culture plays a huge role in the development of leaders.