Organisations today face a lot of competition and several other complexities which sometimes removes the focus of its leaders from issues which would help position the business for long term growth. The need for a system of leadership development to be established is there is the need for dynamic leaders that can push growth and development. It is important that Management is able to identify those who show potential and assist in any way possible to encourage them. It has been also observed that organisations concentrate efforts on the developing of leaders enjoy increased productivity and higher employee retention. On the other hand, organisations that do not consider this as a priority seem to lose their workers to their competitors and obviously experience lower productivity. The business and bottom line of organisations can improve when their employees feel valued and have the prospects of rising into leadership as they advance. This also drives them to develop the requisite skills in leadership to ensure the success of the business. Employees with leadership qualities can help in pushing and supporting the vision of the business owners and ensure that other team members are able to run with it.
Therefore, there should be a deliberate plan for such employees to be given opportunities to develop and exhibit their leadership skills. It is recommended that organisations that intend to pursue this could begin a sort of test program to determine the impact
of this type of intervention can have on a team or department first. In cases where this was done, it led to increased productivity, bonding among team members and improved retention of employees. In all of it, it was observed that leadership really does matter and organisations should come up with a plan to help their employees develop their skills which would also be of benefit to them.
These are some of the ways these can be achieved.
1. Employees can be given Challenging Assignments
Tough situations bring out the best in people. Employees can be helped to develop leadership skills when they are given challenging work that would require their commitment and time. Sometimes, when they are faced with such assignments, they are forced to handle pressure and how to work with their team members. These types of situations would try their patience to test if they are able to function as leaders because they are expected to have certain qualities and skills that would help them co-ordinate their team to produce results. This would also provide them with relevant experience to function as leaders.
Here are some things which employees need when handling challenging assignments and portrays them as potential leaders:
- Ability to stay positive
- Use creative approaches to solve problems
- Move on without grudges whenever there is conflict with team members
- Build and encourage their team members
- Learn from their past successes
- Stay focused
2. Employees can be given a mentor to learn from
In some organisations, employees who show potential for leadership are assisted by placing them with mentors who can teach them certain basic things that can help them. These role models are people whom they respect and admire. They can be given opportunity to work with these mentors so that they can learn by observation. Employees can learn qualities such as integrity, good work ethics and values from their mentor.
In organisations where the employee is given an opportunity to choose a mentor, they should consider what each individual can offer and what they may be able to learn from that person. This can be gotten by interacting with the potential mentors. The employees need to determine what their interests are and what they need to learn from the mentor. They should also be able to understand the feelings and emotions of their mentor so as to benefit maximally from the relationship. They should also develop the ability
to reflect on what they have learnt. It would also be helpful for employees to give feedback on the experience.
3. Employees can learn from their direct bosses
Another way through which employees can develop leadership skills is by learning from their bosses in the office. There are qualities which endear them to their superiors which they also would like to possess. It is possible to develop leadership skills so this makes it easier for them to practise what they see. The boss at the office can impart knowledge to his subordinates by leading by example. They can show what it means to be professional, decisive, ethical and supportive in their daily work in the office.
4. Employees can develop these skills through training
Some skills in leadership can be taught so employees may be sent for training programmes and courses where they are exposed to a practical learning environment. This is also another medium that is effective as long as the employee is interested in it. There are so many things employees can learn here which would prepare them for leadership. Some of these include:
- They acquire new skills that they have not been exposed to
- They learn how they can contribute better to the organisation
- They are better prepared for higher responsibilities
- They are motivated
- They become more productive
- They will reduce wastages in the operational process and this will bring down production costs
- They would be more productive
- Their work would be standardized which would lead to high level performance
- They would require less supervision
- Their morale is increased
5. Provide them with some incentives
Employees can be encouraged to develop their leadership skills and work harder when they know they would be rewarded for it. It has been observed in studies that employees tend to do more and increase output when there are benefits. It helps to keep them motivated and committed to their work. The incentives may include: bonuses and other financial incentives; educational incentives; perks which include casual or half days; workplace amenities which may include gymnasium, canteen, day care centre.
6. Give Employees Opportunities to Learn Time Management
Understanding time management is one of the marks of an effective leader so they can be helped by the organisation with training (software, seminars) that will enable them learn time management skills.