Leadership, along with solid management, is the heart of good business. It is leadership that provides vision to any company and drives it forward. You need not rely on leadership from just one or two people in your business. With the right strategies, you can develop an atmosphere of leadership throughout the entire enterprise. Here are ways to foster leadership in your office:
Encourage Regular Feedback
Employees sometimes don’t become good leaders because, although they might have phenomenal insights and ideas, they never really get the message that their opinion counts. Getting feedback counteracts this. Whether you do one-on-one sessions, surveys or team meetings, find out what your workers think, and encourage them to voice their concerns and concepts. Use these strategies enough and eventually the practice in communicating will help the workers feel comfortable coming forward.
Support Personal and Career Development
When people take classes, go on vacations, get involved in mentorship programs and so forth, they learn facts and have new experiences that broaden their perspective on the world. Their new ways of looking at things enables them to approach problems from more angles and come up with solutions that are more out of the box. The cost of these development opportunities can be considerable, but employees usually more than pay the company back through their work over time.
Encourage Workers to Seek the Answer to “What if…?”
Good leaders continually ask themselves what would happen if they pursued a specific task, goal or direction. They are not concerned as much with where they are now, but rather about the results they’d get if they tried something different. Your workers can use the “what if” approach not only to come up with brand new ideas, but also to problem solve within specific projects. Remember that you need to give your employees some leeway to calculate or experiment if you really want them to think in this way. You’re asking your workers to find answers, so you have to let your employees go through whatever processes are required to get them.
Focus on the Positive
Even if a project crashes and burns, there’s usually something positive you can take away from it, such as the fact you now have some data you can analyze and build on. Focusing on these elements wherever you can is important if you want to foster leadership because good leaders have to face adversity at nearly every point. They must see possibilities where others see obstacles and have the courage to pursue opportunities even when others say they’re nuts. Not only that, but realistically, not every idea or proposed solution is going to be an astounding success. You have to teach your workers to get back in the innovation saddle despite this, to be ruthlessly stubborn about trying again. Don’t underestimate the power of telling your employees that you believe they can achieve.
Offer Brain Teaser Games
Leaders have to be able to look at given situations or tools in unconventional ways, and they often have to work virtual miracles with a ridiculously small amount of resources. Presenting your team with different games can train them to do this. For instance, you might ask them to see what they can create out of some standard office supplies in five minutes. You can either offer a small reward (even just a public acknowledgement) to an individual or you can set this up as a competitive team event.
Delegate and Put Others in Charge
Even if you are telling your employees you think they are smart and talented and can rise to any occasion, they need the chance to direct themselves without your interference. After all, leaders routinely go into unchartered waters without any real safety net, and they have to be able to deal with issues independently as they go. Create small teams and switch up who you put in charge so everyone gets a chance to see what it’s like to drive others together toward a goal. Even if people ultimately learn they aren’t the best leaders in the world, they can be more appreciative of those who do lead well and can become more cooperative as a result.
Leadership is one of the most valued elements in any company, driving creativity and determining to a large extent whether a business has the ability to stay competitive in an ever-changing market. Some people naturally will be better leaders than others, but you still can develop leadership skills in your entire workforce to some degree, starting with these strategies.
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