You might have all the qualities that make a great entrepreneur, but if you’re planning for a lot of growth in the future of your business, you can’t be the one and only leader indefinitely. To minimize the risk of any growing pains, you need to be preparing your brightest and best employees for leadership right now. If you know your business will need great leaders in the future, here are a few effective ways to develop them…
Teach Them How to Network
Even if they absolutely dread such things, you should be taking your future managers along to networking events at every possible opportunity. They may feel a little awkward, but by attending these events, they’ll learn how to establish connections with total strangers, initiate conversations with confidence, and ask for what they want without beating around the bush. This kind of experience is essential for leaders at any level of an organization, so make plans for teaching them to your high-achieving employees as soon as possible. You can start off small, through company events, and gradually build them up to industry-wide networking opportunities and trade shows. By the time they actually start in their more senior roles, they’ll have both the contacts and the people skills they need to succeed.
Push Them Out of Their Comfort Zone
When employees need help with a given task, they’ll typically come to you or another manager, expecting you to either take the task of their hands, or provide a resource that will help them accomplish the job in question. Obviously, you should be giving your employees all the things they need to succeed, but when you’re trying to coach people for leadership opportunities, it’s a good idea to push them out of their comfort zones every now and then. There are many ways you can do this, whether you’re teaching them to perform a task that you’d typically finish off for them, or sending them on a distance learning course through companies like Maryville University. Of course, when your workers are struggling with something, you shouldn’t just sit back and wait for them to figure it out. However, if they never get out of their comfort zone, they’ll find it extremely hard to tackle the numerous challenges that leadership will throw at them.
Foster Ownership Mentality
Most importantly of all, you need to make the future leaders of your business feel like trusted, valued, and influential parts of the organization. If you’re teaching these bright sparks to make smarter, more informed decisions, but still require them to run every little decision by you, they’re not going to feel all that empowered. You can develop a great ownership mentality in your employees by trusting them, and giving them the authority to call certain shots themselves. This ties in closely with our last point. When you think they’re ready, put your most promising employees in charge of a certain process or department, and make sure they don’t have you or other higher-ups to lean on when things get hairy.