Leaders inspire people to succeed. They lead teams through crises and through growth. The best kind of leaders encourage people to become the best they can be. Imagine an organisation full of people who have leadership potential.
In this two-part video, I will explore strategies that will turn your employees into leaders. I will share which questions you need to ask and which mindset you need to develop.
What questions to ask
How do you turn employees into capable and inspiring leaders that your organisation needs to succeed and grow? To answer this question, you’ll need to figure out answers to these two questions:
Question 1: What kind of leader do you need to cultivate in your organisation?
Question 2: What strengths do your team members demonstrate?
The first question focuses on the needs of your organisation. There are different leadership styles, and some styles fit organisations better than others. Your organisation’s needs, both in the short term and in the long term, helps determine which types of leaders you need. Think about the traits, skills, and knowledge that your organisation needs to thrive and succeed—to solve your short-term problems and achieve your long-term goals.
Do you need a leader who knows how to drive sales—one who can rally your team to every sales period? Do you need a leader who can keep your operations efficient? Do you need a charismatic leader who can get everyone’s buy in or commitment to the company’s goals? Do you need a leader who can nurture your organisation’s culture and keep team members engaged and feel valued?
The second question focuses on your team members. What leadership potential do they demonstrate and which tasks do they love to do? Do they demonstrate strong communication skills? Are they capable mentors? Do they know how to encourage team members? Are they capable of cultivating psychological safety in your organisation? Do they know how to rally team members when things are tough?
Once you figure out what your organisation needs and what traits your team members have, then you can map out whether you have the skills you need in the team and which gaps you need to fill. This, in turn, will help you formulate a leadership development plan for your team.
What mindsets to develop
But before we dive into the strategies that you can use to train your employees, let’s first discuss the appropriate mindset you need to make this work. Specifically, let’s explore what you and your team members need to stay motivated.
The problem with failed leadership programs is that it focuses too much on what employees need to know and demonstrate with little insight from the people that they are meant to benefit: the employees themselves. To make it work, leadership programs should take into consideration why team members want to become leaders. Why would they want to manage people and be promoted to a management position? That is, aside from the obvious the salary jump. Why would they want additional responsibility? How will they stay motivated in a leadership role so that they may, in turn, motivate others to do a fantastic job?
Let’s turn to science to help us understand motivation. According to the theory developed by two psychologists, Richard M. Ryan and Edward L. Desi, people are motivated when these three psychological needs are met: autonomy, competence, and relatedness. Developing motivated leaders means providing your team members with opportunities to develop autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
Having autonomy means having a choice. As discussed in a previous video, there are different aspects of work autonomy: what to work on, where to work, when to work, and how to work. Supporting an employees autonomy means providing them the space to do the work that you hired them to do. This keeps employees engaged, and makes them feel that they are trusted and valued. Employees who feel this way are more likely to get work done than those who are micromanaged.
Competence refers to having the right skills, knowledge, and tools needed to get the job done. Competence gives people confidence. The kind of people you want in your team are those who show up wanting and working on doing the best job that they can. It feels good to do well. Who wants to feel incompetent in your team?
Lastly, relatedness refers to the need to feel connected to others and have a sense of belonging. Employees need to feel supported. They want to know that they belong to a team working together on the same goals and objectives.
When thinking about strategies to develop the leadership skills of your team members, don’t just think about what you need to happen and how you want it to happen. Please also think about what your team members want to accomplish and how they can contribute to your organisation’s overall goals and objectives. When you think about it, that’s what it means to be a leader: having the ability to get people’s buy in and to motivate them to work towards a common goal.