It is easy to fall into the trap of believing that a “natural born leader” is the best individual to run a team or an organization. What I have found, though, is that by investing my time in developing my business, I have been able to create leaders. Implementing a leadership development program into my business has not only increased production and improved mentality, but is also having a more positive impact on the lives of my employees. When I look around the conference room, I see a group of confident, excited, and forward-thinking individuals that will excel both in and out of the office.
Where do you start, you ask? That’s easy; start with the environment of your office and office relations. A simple way to facilitate growth is to provide a welcoming, positive, and motivational environment. As a manager, you want to be personable to make your employees comfortable, and build a relationship with them. By doing this, you will earn their trust and respect, and make them want to be an important puzzle piece in the company. Fostering this relationship will allow you the opportunity to get to know your employee better, and learn how to coach them. Figuring out their learning style and personality is critical in the development of leadership skills. How can you help them grow if you know nothing about them? In truth, they won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. According to a study published by the Harvard Business Review, “Why Top Young Managers Are in a Nonstop Job Hunt” by Monika Hamori, Jie Cao and Burak Koyuncu, these eager, fresh faces in the company want training, mentorship, and help developing their skills. Just as an employer is looking for loyalty, the employee is seeking the same things. Take a genuine interest in improving your staff, stay engaged, and assist them in becoming better versions of themselves.
After establishing a solid relationship, the leadership training really begins! Some of the first and easiest skills to focus on are communication and active listening skills. A true leader should be able to communicate their ideas clearly, concisely, and efficiently. It is important to note that not everyone will understand a concept or directions the first time around. Good leaders learn to explain themselves in multiple ways ensuring that the entire team is on the same page and set up for success. This has drastically changed the way that my business functions efficiently. Having an established team of individuals that are able to communicate effectively and share ideas has allowed us to push the envelope with fresh, creative ideas that keep pushing business forward.
The easiest way to encourage leadership development and productivity in the workplace is to lead by example, and exhibit the skills that you are looking for in an employee. Show them what you are looking for instead of telling them. If you expect your team to be punctual, make sure that you arrive early to the office. If you want them to work on networking, take time to reach out and establish new relationships yourself. Set and surpass your goals, effectively manage your time, and get out of your comfort zone. Illustrating this to your team will prove that they, too, can become a leader in the office if they focus on these skills.