The prospect of advancing in one’s field is what makes it possible for many people to keep plugging away at their jobs, honing their skills, and taking on new projects. But after a certain point, career development depends on more than technical skills and a willingness to work hard. You also need a few soft skills, not the least of which is the ability to take on a leadership role.
Some people are natural leaders, but anyone can develop the skill set needed with some practice. If you want to take your career as far as it can go, then you have to be willing to put in the work.
What is leadership?
Leadership is how an individual determines direction, influences a group, and directs the group towards a specific goal or mission. These few things were observed about leadership.
- Leadership is a behavior, not a position. Leadership is inspiring others to live the vision, mission and values.
- Leaders do not tell others what to do. Great leaders support others in making independent decisions.
- Leaders are not necessarily born. People can learn the behavior.
- Management is synonymous with leadership.
Behavior and traits of good leaders.
- A good leader is disciplined.
- They inspire others.
- They have high integrity and honesty.
- They have problem-solving skills.
- They are good communicators.
How to develop leaders in a company:
- Identify potentials; in your quest to develop leadership within your workplace, you must identify employees with leadership potential. You must be able to note the difference between top performers and high potential employees. Not all top performers are willing to take up leadership roles. Identify emerging leaders who can step in to fill critical roles when the need arises. Look beyond work-related skills to behavior and attitude. Learn about their interests and push them out of their comfort zones.
- Get help finding high potential workers: admonish your management to look out for the best and brightest to fill leadership roles.
- Sell your vision: Discuss your vision and seek advice from others. Sharing a big picture of the organization’s vision helps get the buy-in from your employees and helps them adjust their priorities to best align with the company. Transparency helps build trust, which will help employees show their full potential.
- Provide support for leadership development: make leadership development a part of your business strategy. A leadership plan should cover all levels and indicate when an employee should be moved to the next level in their field. Offer opportunities for people to upgrade in their field of expertise or even beyond. Invest in leadership training programs to build a pipeline of potential.
- Assigning independent responsibility; is a great way to develop leadership. You need to give more responsibilities to employees. Do not give them more than they can handle but give them more responsibility to identify their capability. Look out for how they step out of their comfort zones to learn things and make the right decisions. This helps build their ability to take the initiative.
- Monitor, measure and reward; people need to be accountable for their performance, including getting credit for their performance. Put appraisals and incentive systems that fairly evaluate performance and reward excellence in place.
- Supportive coaching: pairing future leaders with established and successful leaders through mentorship can be an effective development method. Use coaching in one-on-one development, providing guidance and advice for specific challenges, and use this means to discuss their fears and weaknesses and help them work on them. In the workplace, do not cluster well vested minds and leave the others also at another part. Do well to blend all forms of knowledge levels and skills. Make pairing with established employees and new employees to build that competitive hunger to become better.
Employing leaders from outside your company can be very expensive, time-consuming, and risky. That is why it is necessary to develop homegrown talents to give your business a long-term competitive advantage. Therefore, it is necessary to invest in your employees, encourage them, support them, and make them feel like they are family to engage their full potential and develop to maximum utilization.