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Preparing For Tomorrow’s Leaders Today

April 24, 2015
Borderless Leadership

One trait all businesses share in common – whether they sell a product or service – is the drive for growth. The potential a business has to grow is not only tied to market demand, but also to how the company manages and develops the strengths of its employees, an issue I discussed in an earlier piece.

Of course, as a company grows, so does the need to assign greater responsibilities to their employees, including roles or functions associated with positions of leadership. However, what most companies overlook in this process is the need to offer guidance and support to their newly minted leaders on how to function successfully in their new roles within the organization.

With this in mind, here are some key points businesses need to encourage their new managers to adopt so that they can become the kind of leaders companies will need to ensure their continued growth and development:

1. Don’t micromanage your team
This is probably one of the most common complaints employees have about their manager – dealing with a boss who insists on overseeing every detail. While there’s the obvious problem of reduced productivity for both the new manager and those in their team, the bigger issue with this behaviour is the lack of trust a leader exhibits to those under their care. As a leader, it’s critical that your team members know that you not only trust them to do their part, but that you also understand the value of their contribution.

2. Pay attention to what you delegate
One of the responsibilities of a leader is to delegate work to the various members of their team. And yet, what’s rarely made apparent is how important the kind of work you delegate is to your ability to effectively lead others. As a new leader, it’s easy to want to use your position to pass off the less-desirable work to others in your team and keep the more interesting tasks for yourself. However, to be an effective leader for your team requires that you delegate work that offers opportunities for your them to grow and develop their talents and skills, to the mutual benefit of both the company and the employee.

3. Don’t be afraid to let your team members outshine you
Of course, in delegating tasks that help your employees grow and develop, there’s understandably the chance that they will excel and become one of the company’s most valuable contributors. On the surface, this might seem like a risk to someone who has recently been given the role of leading others.

That is, until we recognize that the responsibility of being a leader is to empower and develop your team members. From that vantage point, having someone in your team transform into a company star under your leadership is as much an indication of your success as their leader as it is of the value of that employee’s contribution to the organization.

4. Listen more than you talk
Another common mis-perception is that, as leader, your employees are there simply to put into action the plans/measures you hand out to them to implement. This notion creates the idea that communication between a leader and their team is a one-way route going from the leader to the employees.

However, if we recognize that the true role of a leader is to be in the service of their team members, it becomes clear that a leader needs to listen more to what their employees have to say. This will not only ensure that leaders are aware of any issues their employees may be concerned about, but it will also allow leaders to better understand how they can help their team members accomplish the objectives that have been assigned to them.

5. Leadership is an never-ending learning process
This point is a good reminder for all leaders, both new and more experienced ones. As seen above, no one should expect a leader to have the answer for every problem or issue. Indeed, that’s where fostering the strengths of your employees and listening to what they have to share comes into play in helping a leader make the best decisions for the organization.

With this in mind, it becomes clear that serving in the capacity as leader requires constant learning, growing and evolving as the team dynamics grow and evolve. If there’s one thing those in leadership positions can attest to it’s that this role is far from a static one.

Granted, the above points are hardly comprehensive regarding all the issues that businesses should address in their mentoring of employees they see playing a leadership role in their organization some time in the future. But these are good starting points that businesses should include in any plans regarding both the direction and scope of their company’s future growth.

So what other lessons would you share with your employees to develop their leadership abilities? What have you found helps employees make the transition to playing a leadership role in their organization?

Source: Tanveer Naseer

By: Tanveer Naseer

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