Contributed by Brittany Goodwin
Every company needs exceptional workers. Your employees are what drives your business and what helps it run efficiently. They have the power to make or break your growth and profitability. Naturally, you’ll want to hire good, talented people who have a demonstrated track record for success. However, don’t forget about your employees after you hire them.
Employees should never be viewed as “just” employees, but rather, as leaders who have the ability to take the reins of your business and ignite change, push for innovation, and look for new opportunities to really propel your company to success. If you want your business to be known for strong leadership, and you feel your workforce isn’t quite worthy of that reputation, you don’t have to go out and replace all of your employees with new leaders. Rather, you can focus on employee development and guide your current employees into becoming better leaders. Below are six tips for turning your current workforce into tomorrow’s leaders.
1. Survey Employees
Surveys are a quick and easy way to learn a lot about your employees. What are your employees knowledgeable about and what areas do they need to improve upon? How do your employees view your current business leadership and what would they do better? Ask your employees to fill out a survey to help you to gain more feedback and insight regarding your business. Sample questions include “Rate your public speaking comfort level on a scale of 1-10” or “How comfortable are you with leading a meeting at our company? What can we do to make you more comfortable?” Survey Monkey offers the ability to create effective surveys with ease. What’s more, your employees can choose to fill out their answers anonymously. When they fill out a survey anonymously you’ll be more likely to receive their true, honest opinions about your company. This data should make your leadership direction clear.
2. Use Business Simulations
Another way that you can learn more about your employees and their leadership skills is through the use of business simulations. Companies like Tycoon Systems build custom business simulations that can help you to assess your company’s current level of leadership development. You can use these simulations to measure your employees’ skills including agility, crisis management, decision making, and more. You’ll also be able to use “what-if” scenario-based learning to help prepare your employees for leadership roles in a wide-range of often-unpredictable situations, by having the ability to change parameters and view the predicted results. Business simulations are designed to help companies learn more about their employees and to ensure that they are building leaders who can tackle tough issues, even those they may not encounter for a few years.
3. Provide Training
Once you receive completed surveys and view business simulation results to see where your employees and your business are presently with regard to current leadership abilities and skills, you’ll be able to identify areas for improvement. Work on strengthening weaknesses by offering training sessions. Maybe you have an employee who excels in a certain area, and has a knack for negotiating, public speaking, or another strong leadership skill. That employee can lead a training session, sharing his or her skills with the rest of the team to help everyone become stronger. Businesses work better when employees are offered regular training sessions and opportunities for improvement.
4. Give Employees Room to Grow
Is your company providing employees with the right atmosphere to become leaders? Make sure you’re providing them with plenty of room to grow. Encourage employees to ask questions, try new things, and bring up new suggestions or ideas for improvement. Some companies like to offer suggestion boxes where employees can provide such feedback. Always listen to every suggestion seriously. Sure, a new idea may sound scary at first, but it could be just what your business needs to thrive.
5. Act as a Mentor or Assign One
As employees grow and advance at the company, mentor/mentee relationships tend to develop. It’s important that these types of relationships are maintained; the best way to learn leadership skills are from other successful employees within the business. Mentors are beneficial not only for new hires, but to cross-train current employees. This will boost performance and motivation, and prepare employees to expand their roles within the company.
6. Give Feedback
Employee feedback will measure and review employee performance to improve future productivity and skills. Back-and-forth communication is important to develop leaders; this can be done through quarterly meetings, setting individual goals, and discussing performance as well as various ways to grow and improve as leaders. These types of meetings also offer employees the opportunity to voice any concerns.
Are your employees merely workers filling an immediate need, or are they leaders in training? Every employee has the ability to become a great leader and help bring about change and growth. When you follow these six tips you’ll reap the benefits of strategic thinkers and company leaders, not simply hired individuals who are capable of completing day to day tasks.
Brittany Goodwin is a digital marketing professional and freelance writer in Philadelphia. She enjoys traveling and making a positive impact on the environment. Brittany holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Rutgers University. Connect with Brittany on LinkedIn.
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