How to Develop Leadership Skills within Your Teamon 6 June 2018
Building a great team of employees is hard work. Finding the right skills, knowledge, and personalities to successfully work together (and then keep them together) is a huge accomplishment. And the process of building a better team doesn’t end there. The next step is help your employees develop their leadership skills. This can be more difficult than it seems.
While there are some born leaders who naturally seem to know how to manage people and projects and inspire others, they are the exception. Most people need to gradually build these skills and they need the right support and opportunities to do so. Keep in mind that building future leaders will help you delegate more of your work to others and help your team accomplish more.
There are some employees who are always eager to take charge. That can be both a good and a bad thing. Too often the desire to take charge is not matched with the ability to manage people and be effective. Management can seem like a perk rather than a responsibility.
In order to be a good leader, employees must first be good employees and have a good understanding of their own strengths and limitations. Part of the way you can help is by providing transparency. Employees need to be able to view their performance in perspective. If your employees work in the open near each other it might be easier for them to see what other people are doing. You can help online teams by having software that tracks projects and performance. Project management or sales tracking software can allow everyone to see their progress. You don’t want to make the workplace too competitive but it is good for people to realise if they are keeping up or lagging behind.
Once employees have a good grasp of their own work, they might be ready for new challenges. Start small with limited amounts of responsibility. Entrusting an employee with a special project or small area to manage may make them feel appreciated and challenged. Other employees might resent additional work. Their reaction to new work assignments is a good clue as to how they might react to being elevated to management once the thrill of a new job title fades. Starting with smaller projects gives employees a chance to build skills and confidence before tackling more challenging projects.
Good managers are made not born. To achieve the skills that will help an employee become a quality future manager, it takes a lot of work and some good examples. Try to pair up workers with supervisors so that they have mentors to learn from and go to for advice. Investing in management training programmes for your staff is another option to help them build new skills.
Set an Example
You will set the tone within your workplace. It is important that you demonstrate the type of management skills and teambuilding you want your employees to develop. Avoid the mistake of becoming so focused on the big picture that you miss the importance of setting a good example. Provide positive feedback to your workers, set clear goals for their performance, and reward people for their efforts. Work with employees who are struggling or falling behind to improve their performance. Remember that you create expectations. If you are willing to roll up your sleeves to pitch in when your teams need it, your managers and employees are more likely to do the same.
We all have people we like and our favourites at work. Perhaps you gravitate toward employees who are most like you or who are interesting characters. Your favourites might understandably be the employees that are your best workers. You still need to avoid showing an obvious bias, as tempting as it might be. Do your best to give all your employees the same chances to succeed and to develop management skills. Showing favouritism is likely to build resentment among your employees and it might even hurt your ability to manage them. It can also demoralise otherwise good employees.
Being fair to everyone is an important lesson for your employees to learn. Sometimes, the issue isn’t even favouritism, it is the perception that you might have favourites. Be as up front and open as possible about opportunities for advancement and chances to take on new responsibilities. Once your workers see the system is fair and the company has faith in them, they are more likely to work harder to make sure your company, and themselves, are able to succeed.
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