Developing leaders from within is a great way to keep any organization strong for generations.
Mentoring an employee from an entry-level position to leadership likely won’t happen overnight, and much of the process may vary by company.
However, there are a few general ideas you could consider incorporating when cultivating top-notch leaders from your internal staff.
Create and cast a vision
Having a conversation with your potential leaders is important to ensure you are all on the same page.
Lay out the vision you have for them and for the company. Give them an idea of what they can accomplish, as well as what they can help the organization accomplish.
Not only will it provide you with an opportunity to share the qualities you see in them, but it will also give them something to work toward.
Together, you can decide on a clear path to achieve your collective end goal.
Sponsor training opportunities
One of the best ways you can foster your future leaders is by encouraging them to seek out and attend training opportunities.
You could offer something internally, such as a leadership book club – both for developing leaders and to read books on leadership – or a weekly time to take online classes.
There are also many sessions and seminars organized by other groups that could provide new ideas and outside voices. If there is a cost, be willing to pay it as a way of showing support for their learning.
Asking for thoughts and opinions is a good way to provoke thinking and get a read on where your potential leaders’ heads are at.
Questions such as, “Where do you want to go?” help them to critically think about their future and goals. They are also required to put those thoughts into words and share them. This can be a valuable checkpoint for all parties.
Additionally, asking them to provide input on something not only gives them a voice, but it can also give you a feel for their leadership style and the impact it could have on the company. Plus, their answers can be used as a coaching or mentorship opportunity, if needed.
Above all, make sure they feel heard, and encourage them to speak up openly and often.
Offer more responsibility
Start by giving them an additional task to take the lead on. Once they have mastered it, then give them more. Note that the goal isn’t to overload their plate, but to provide them with a wide range of skills.
Although leaders don’t need to be masters of everything, they should be familiar with many facets of the company and how each impacts the others.
By gradually entrusting them with more, you are providing them with linear steppingstones to leadership and allowing a space for you to provide feedback – all while boosting their confidence. Win – win – win.
The tools outlined above could be valuable additions to some methods of developing leaders. However, the pathway for building your company’s future leadership is highly personal. There are many great ideas you could use to create your own program, and it is worth taking time to explore them all to find which ones are the best fits for you.