For a business to run efficiently, there must be workers and leaders to drive progress. Figuring out who the best motivators and leaders are can be challenging for many companies. Fortunately, forming great leaders only takes following some specific steps and having a vision about the kind of company culture you prefer.
In the past, people may have made the progression based solely on their education credentials. However, book learning isn’t always equal to natural abilities and real life skills. Instead, the progression path should be more of a mesh between education, experience, attitudes and performance.
Previous Deloitte surveys show that most brands state finding and developing leadership is a challenge faced worldwide. Human resources and business leaders feel recruiting leadership talent is a pressing issue. Yet, a mere 23% of organizations said their leaders could keep going in a disrupted world, similar to what companies experienced during the height of the pandemic.
With coming changes in artificial intelligence (AI) technology and brand new challenges, forming great leaders will require a mix of maturity and technical skills never before seen in the world’s history. You’ve probably heard that great leaders are made. Here are some steps to form top-notch management for your organization so you can create the type of motivators you most want.
Table of Contents
1. Cultivate Positive Attitudes
Great leaders often exude enthusiasm. They aren’t afraid to work hard to meet a common goal. They don’t need credit for every little thing they do.
At the same time, company culture can take a positive employee and turn them into a discouraged one who is quietly quitting long before they hand in their resignation. Failing to recognize their contributions is often the first step to them checking out.
Make sure current leadership appreciates the contributions of those who work the hardest in your company. If any reward systems are set up in ways that recognize those who don’t work as hard and ignore those who do, you can be almost certain your top employees have noticed and are looking for other employment or considering their options.
Forming great leaders can be difficult if your most devoted employees feel discouraged and you have high employee churn. Before forming leaders, make sure your company culture is the best it can be.
2. Offer Training Opportunities
Forming great leaders often comes from having excellent role models who teach them. It’s smart to start with a bootcamp to teach basic skills and then add additional opportunities that match the person’s skills and interests.
While you can measure success through data, you should also consider each employees’ contribution and understand that numbers don’t always tell the full story. For example, if someone takes on new, more complex tasks, they may score lower in some areas while they learn key indicators for success.
If an employee struggles in an area, such as being whiny or struggling with completing tasks, find ways to train them in better methods to turn their weaknesses into strengths.
3. Understand Emotions
Indeed recently surveyed US workers who had changed jobs two times or more since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Around 92% of respondents stated they now feel life is too short to stay in a job you don’t love. In an already tight labor market, it’s essential to understand how your workers might feel and take steps to ensure their happiness.
Over the last couple of years, the number of quits rose month-to-month across all industries. While some experts feel the Great Quit might show signs of slowing in 2023, the numbers don’t match the claim. There are still many openings for each person seeking employment. How can you retain your top workers and potential leaders?
Talk to your employees regularly about their goals. Are they interested in leadership? Do they just want a bit of recognition for what they do but aren’t interested in moving up the career ladder? Every single worker has an individual path. Communication is key to understanding where each one is and if they could become a fantastic leader in the future or are happier punching the clock and turning in stellar work for a bit of extra appreciation.
No role is less than another. People are just on different paths with varied life goals. Some are more focused on their families and don’t want to put in the time it takes to move up into leadership. Others desperately want to be in charge and feel they could add a lot to the company dynamic. Your job is to figure out where each staff member fits best and will be happiest and most productive.
4. Create Opportunities for Empathy
Great leaders are often empathetic to those around them. They see when someone is struggling and offer help. They can relate to problems at work, home or anything in between. They’re often the go-to person for people to confide in and ask advice from.
If a name just came to mind of a person in your company who others confide in and trust, this person should be in leadership if they aren’t already. Consider how you can move them from their current position into one with more responsibilities.
You can create opportunities for forming great leaders who are empathetic by offering chances for workers to mentor others. Let them take a new worker under the wing and show them the ropes. Ask them how you can help them and how they think they can best help others. Reward empathy and extra effort from employees who show caring without being asked.
5. Cultivate Creativity
The best leaders are creative problem solvers and challenge others to act the same. Collaborating with other people and trying different options until achieving success is a hallmark of great management skills.
One method of forming great leaders within your company is simply showing them how to problem solve and taking on that “never give up” attitude that many people lack. If a staffer comes to you and asks what they can try next, take note. They are a natural problem solver and likely would make an excellent leader with a bit of training.
6. Pay Attention to Who Has Authority
Thought leadership is a big buzz word in the business world at the moment. Showing you have authority in a given topic lends itself to higher customer loyalty and people trusting you know what you’re doing.
Showing authority helps you attract high-quality leads. Around 51% of B2B leaders feel thought leadership makes it easier for consumers to absorb information.
Train the leaders in your company to recognize numbers and facts in a glance. They should be able to talk naturally about different topics related to the business. Regular presentations on numbers and new advances might help tremendously and is knowledge everyone in your company should have.
7. Stop Tooting Horns
A fine line between praise and conceit exists. Make sure you offer words of praise and encouragement but also cultivate a company that strives to improve just a bit more with each passing week.
Employees should be recognized for taking on harder tasks or more responsibilities than initially agreed upon. It’s natural to want to reward those who talk about the great contributions they’ve made. Unfortunately, a quieter employee might make an excellent leader but get overlooked for the shinier, noisier counterparts.
Stop tooting people’s horns or listening to their own cacophony of noise and instead look at actions. Who produces more? Are they consistent? Would that person be interested in a bigger role in the company?
Never let personalities win the decision of who gets a promotion. Personal relationships with co-workers should never enter the equation of who is in management. Just because you go to lunch with someone or play golf doesn’t mean they’d make a great leader. The two things don’t always correlate, although it is nice when they do.
Forming Great Leaders Takes Intention
If you want to cultivate the next generation of leaders in your company, you must make a plan and move forward with it. Share the steps with employees so they know what they must achieve to move up the ladder. Be fair, honest and creative in how you fill new or empty management roles. With a bit of attention to cultivating the right leaders, your company will continue to grow and thrive through all its phases.
Eleanor Hecks is the editor-in-chief of Designerly Magazine. She’s also a web design consultant with a focus on customer experience and user interface. She lives in Philadelphia with her husband and dogs, Bear and Lucy. Connect with her about marketing, design and/or tea on LinkedIn.