Every person who starts his own business has, at some point, had the realization that he either cannot or should not be running his business forever. Similarly, as a business grows, the strain and stress of running a burgeoning company introduces the need for employees to step up and become the company’s next leaders. Unless you are a total control freak, there’s nothing better than being able to see someone on your team step into a leadership role and take your company to a new level. This idea of duplication has been one of the main drivers for success and growth since the beginning of business.
What does this process of duplication look like? How do leaders of organizations best motivate and prepare their organizations, specifically their members, to step up and take leadership positions within the company? Here are six ways leaders can best duplicate themselves and grow more leaders within their organizations:
There’s nothing more important than being open and transparent about where the organization is going and where there are opportunities for people to step up. If your employees don’t have a firm grasp of the company’s vision or goals, how do you expect them to step into leadership roles and offer true value to the company? Spend time with your organization as a whole — and with your employees as individuals — to cast a vision on what’s coming up for the organization and how they can play a part in its growth.
This idea works with feedback as well. If you’re upfront and honest with your team about things that aren’t going well or expectations that haven’t been met, they will know exactly what is needed from each and every one of them, and they’ll be much more likely to meet expectations.
Invest time in your employees to develop their skillsets to prime them for leadership. Oftentimes, employees go unnoticed and stay unmotivated in their positions because they don’t have support and mentorship to take them to the next level. As a leader, you have experience and expertise to help grow your employees into leaders. Don’t just expect them to become leaders overnight.
3. Professional Development
Encourage and develop opportunities for your employees to gain access to resources and education that will give them the knowledge base to step into a leadership role within your company. This doesn’t even have to be in-house. Numerous organizations encourage their employees to attend conferences, speaking sessions, and networking events outside of their offices to grow themselves. The more opportunities for outside growth and personal development you offer, the more likely they are to carry over into your workplace and organization.
Employees want to know that they can be trusted with opportunities to show their worth — and to be directly responsible for the company’s growth. Not sure if they’re ready for responsibility? You’re never going to know if they can handle it until you give them opportunities to succeed (or fail). Start small, and if they prove that they can be trusted, then give them increasing responsibility. If they fail, it’s a learning opportunity that will allow them to grow. If consistent failure happens without adjustments being made, then you’ve determined that they probably shouldn’t be part of the organization a lot faster than you would have otherwise.
By developing a culture that promotes failure along with growth, you create an environment that allows people to get involved without worrying as much about the security of their job or place within the company. Breaking down barriers for your team will motivate them to step outside of their comfort zones and exceed expectations. Promote as much as possible the idea that failure is okay as long as learning opportunities come along with it. There’s nothing worse for an organization than a group that’s okay with the status quo.
This is a common question for those in leadership roles of organizations: How much praise should I give my employees? There’s really a simple answer: Give praise when praise is due. Gone are the days of leaders having to sitting atop their ivory towers, watching the peons work. When your employees do well — especially when they exceed expectations — make sure they know the work is not going unnoticed. If their efforts aren’t celebrated, they are much less likely to try again.
You should never question whether you want your people stepping up to become your company’s next leaders. Instead, you should ask who, when, and how can I help them get there? By developing more leaders within your organization, you will be able to fast-track the growth of your team and, most of all, secure a future that isn’t solely dependent upon your personal success.
How are you executing these ideas in your organization? Are you planning for growth by grooming leaders within your organization? Let me know how you’re growing leaders within your company, and tell me about other ways you motivate future leaders.
Ryan O’Connell is the Vice President at Influence & Co., a company that helps experts build their businesses through thought leadership and content marketing by producing high-quality content for reputable publications. You can reach out to Ryan on Twitter @Oconnellryan or on Google+.
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