“Growing other leaders from the ranks isn’t just the duty of the leader, it’s an obligation.” —Warren Bennis
Developing leaders throughout your organization places you in a position to conquer new leadership challenges where innovation and flexibility are the keys to success. When you build on the expertise within the ranks of your organization you improve efficiency and effectiveness. Growing new leaders allows you to tap into the talent and potential of your team members. Let’s look at three of the factors that promote the growing and nurturing of new leaders.
You must start by creating an environment where others have the opportunity and are encouraged to lead. Develop a culture where employees embrace collaboration and open communication. Value the diversity that offers a continual flow of new perspectives. Provide employees with an environment that challenges them in a way that engages and inspires. Encourage the sharing of ideas by asking great questions and valuing the answers you receive. Provide work that employees can feel passionate about. Network and relationship building are important factors in leadership. Help and encourage employees to build their network and develop strong relationships built on trust and respect. Implement programs where new leaders can be mentored.
If you want to grow new leaders you must provide them with experiences that help them understand who they are, what they stand for, and what their strengths and weaknesses are. Give them the opportunity to participate in solving difficult problems. Allow them to make mistakes and help them learn how to grow from the lesson these mistakes teach. Encourage them to share their ideas and allow them to participate in planning and implementation of new ideas. Every employee has valuable ideas, insights, and perspectives; engage them in productive conversations. When employees feel like they are an integral part of the organization they will be more motivated and engaged in growing as a leader.
Give employees the training and experiences they need to develop leadership skills. These skills will enable them to have a positive influence on colleagues, make informed decisions, and contribute new ideas. Help them develop an understanding of their own biases and how these biases can impact decision making. Teach them to appreciate the benefits of obtaining diverse points of view. Help them develop the ability to ask the right questions so they can make sense of overwhelming amounts of information. Teach them the value of networking. Create in them an ownership mentality. And, most importantly, serve as a role-model of good leadership and show them how to bring out the best in others.
Everyone wins when you grow new leaders and develop the leadership pipeline throughout your organization. When you have individuals with leadership ability at every level of your organization you increase the speed at which you can respond to change, your ability to be flexible, and your ability to respond to uncertainty. When you become more involved in the leadership development of your employees you will experience improved employee and customer satisfaction. By growing new leaders, your organization becomes more nimble and innovative, able to respond more quickly to customer needs and changes in the business environment.
© 2014 Elizabeth Stincelli
Elizabeth Stincelli is passionate about recognizing and inspiring the leader in each of us. She is the CEO of Stincelli Advisors where she focuses on helping organizations engage employees and improve organizational culture. Elizabeth holds a Doctor of Management degree with an emphasis on organizational leadership.
Learn more about Elizabeth by visiting her website, stincelliadvisors.com and connect with her on Twitter @infinitestin, Google+, and LinkedIn. You can contact her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.