The ability to single out a leader isn't a skill that all managers can boast of having. However, as a manager or employer, identifying leaders and encouraging leadership potential is vital to the growth of your company. If you don't spot and ignite leadership among employees, that talent could slip between your fingers.
This brings us to the big question: how can you detect and fuel leadership at work? Should you take a skills approach to leadership? This guide will explore the sure-fire signs of leadership and how to encourage this skill among employees.
If you're trying to spot leadership potential among your employees, here are three core traits to look out for.
Excellent communication skills are a hallmark of a true leader. Leaders should be able to communicate diplomatically with colleagues and staff. This includes taking the time to pass information clearly without allowing room for misinterpretations and miscommunication. It also involves defusing hostile situations by communicating with both parties.
Although it can be hard to find an employee with this level of communication skills, you might have it hiding right under your nose.
Accountability isn't just a fancy term that HR managers throw around during recruitment. Instead, it's one of the most crucial elements for being a leader. But how do you spot accountability in an employee or intern? It is pretty easy to detect with the right setting in mind. When there's a problem at work, watch out for employees that step up to the challenge and take responsibility.
Being accountable involves solving issues regardless of how hard they may seem and accepting responsibility when things go wrong. It's easier to spot accountability in challenging situations rather than when everything is cozy and smooth.
Assertiveness is yet another crucial trait for leadership. Although some managers and employers dislike assertive employees, they often make good leaders when given a chance.
So how do you fish out an assertive employee? They're confident and quick to stand up for themselves and other employees, for starters. They're also energetic, proactive, and can readily take the initiative. So watch out for employees that easily rise up to the occasion when it comes to specific projects and tasks that need handling. You can also spot assertive employees by using personality traits to gauge their levels of assertiveness.
Can leadership be learned? Contrary to popular opinion, not every leader was born clutching a leadership badge in their fists. Leaders are often the products of challenging situations and intense training. So how do you encourage leadership among employees? Follow these steps:
Every employee has unique leadership strengths, skills, and areas of expertise. You just need to identify these strengths and encourage your workers to utilize them. Talk to each member of your team, discuss their leadership potential and constantly encourage them to take charge.
However, it's important to note a core difference between leadership and management skills. Thus, when analyzing your team members' strengths, constantly ask yourself: "Which of the following competencies is more leadership-oriented than management-oriented?" This will help you to sift the right points to focus on.
Micromanaging employees might seem like the fastest way to get things done, but in reality, it's actually a counter-productive measure that can frustrate and lower employees' morale.
Instead of micromanaging them, provide more responsibility and encourage employees to think more independently. This way, they'll become more adept at leadership instead of constantly seeking help and guidance.
Some employees often need a little extra push to grow into leadership roles. As such, you may need to push their limits to prevent stagnancy. Stack on more challenging tasks for them and give them the level of discomfort that encourages growth.
However, it's important to note that there's a fine line between pushing employees and overworking them. Try as much as possible not to cross that line.
Several studies have shown that leadership training can help a company retain talents and nurture future leaders. Thus, if you're encouraging leadership in the workplace, you could host company-wide leadership training with an external or in-house leadership expert.
This approach will provide employees with the knowledge and opportunities they need and help them understand what's expected of them as leaders.
Employees with leadership skills and traits are vital assets to any company or organization. As an employer or manager, it's essential to constantly be on the lookout for leaders and encourage team members to take on more leadership roles. This way, your organization can blossom and be well equipped for the future.