It is a fact that a great, well-balanced leader can do wonders for any business. It is equally true that bad leaders can cause terrible damage. This makes it vitally important to only hire leaders who can actually lead, and to ensure that the leaders you have can do their job in an efficient manner.
However, bringing in a new leader can cause a whole host of problems, not to mention the fact that it will take time for them to totally fit in with the organization’s culture and operational methods. Therefore growing leaders from existing staff is something that just about every organization should be focusing effort on.
Far better to grow your own leaders, but how can this best be achieved
Investigations have shown that only about 10% of people naturally possess the skills needed to be a great leader, the same data set shows that good leaders have a combination of some of these five traits:
- The ability to motivate others
- Can be assertive when this is necessary to overcome obstacles
- Find it easy to build trusting relationships
- Are able to construct a culture where the concept of accountability is accepted
- Can make unbiased decisions
Once you have identified who could make a great leader, or want to boost your current team’s abilities, there are many things to bear in mind when considering how to develop their skills. However, at this stage, it is also a good time to check you have chosen the right people, as it is possible to pick someone who is a top performer who would not actually make a good leader.
This is the most important issue. Too many businesses wait until someone is retiring before they start looking for a replacement leader. This is far too late. Instead, all businesses should follow the mantra ‘It’s never too early to start developing leaders.
What you need to do is to create a series of leadership development programs and weave them into your staff reviews and also perhaps your hiring and recruitment processes.
Use Coaching and Mentoring Systems
Pairing a promising candidate with an established leader is one way of speeding up the development of their leadership abilities. By coaching and the provision of detailed feedback on a regular basis, the skill level of the ‘student’ can be dramatically improved.
Always Share Strategy and Vision
Leaders can only lead if they understand (and to a degree believe in) the target or destination. This goes for all employees to some extent, at least if a business wants to get the best from every staff member. Thus it is vital to share the overall goal, the ‘big picture’ with everyone. However, it is your leaders that really need to understand the details here as it is they who have to ‘lead the troops’ every day in order to ensure that the business meets its objectives.
Therefore it goes without saying that potential leaders have to understand all the facets of an organization, as this will help them create the necessary levels of trust and two-way communication in their teams.
Invest in Leadership Training
Conventional leadership training programs provide a structured experience for every student, this being designed to assist them to develop their leadership abilities. They normally have the theory and practical sections, covering areas like communication, problem-solving, delegation, and decision-making, not to mention strategic planning and team management.
They are delivered in many ways, using workshops, seminars, traditional classes, and online, and can be designed to cater to all levels of leaders, from entry-level personnel to very senior executives.
The goal of any leadership training program must be to provide the participant with the necessary knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to be able to effectively lead and manage others.
They should also be better able to achieve their own personal and professional goals and objectives.
But is there a better way?
But are these traditional methods the best, do they really train leaders to cope with the unexpected and enable them to deal with the inevitable crisis that affects every business at one time or another?
There is one training company that believes that these ‘learning by being told’ methods are a poor fit when it comes to dealing with the pressures modern managers face in today’s competitive world.
Instead, they use simulations to create a scenario that mimics the real world. Here leaders can set a variety of complicated challenges which they have to address in a fast and efficient manner. The great thing about these business scenarios is that whatever happens, no one gets hurt and the business itself does not suffer.
What does happen is that all the participants learn more about themselves, their fellow leaders, and team members as well as hone leadership skills like decision-making and team management.
Interesting Related Article: “Finding and Optimizing the Right Leaders“