Promoting employees from within has several distinct advantages over hiring externally: the person already knows your product, processes, and people – and will require less time for onboarding for the new position. It keeps the employees happy knowing that good performance will be rewarded with a promotion. External hiring takes time and is more expensive than promoting from within. However, it’s not always possible to hire internally – either because there are no employees with the correct skills, the employees don’t have the confidence or desire to take on leadership roles, or a combination of the two.
There are managers who do not develop their employees, seeing them as competition. This is the wrong approach. The ability to develop leaders is an indicator of a good leader. In addition, if you don’t have a potential successor, then it will be harder to get a promotion for yourself. Grooming and inspiring your high-potential employees for leadership is therefore an imperative for any manager.
Teach them Networking
One of the most important skills of a leader is the ability to network. It allows them to build connections, not only with partners, but also with potential clients. Not all employees have the talent and may even be overwhelmed by mere thought of speaking with strangers and representing the company.
If your business has many different units, you can bring the employee to company events and guide their networking experience with members of other units. You can also bring them to industry events so that they can learn how to conduct themselves and represent the company to others.
Mentoring is an important tool in developing leadership skills. With the prevalence of mobile communications and of companies having internal communication tools, it is easier for mentors to keep in touch with their mentees. You can discuss their goals and personal development and give feedback. Personally showing them how things work will give them a better understanding of the process and builds trust. Your employee will have more confidence in showing initiative and being a leader if they trust that you will support them.
Provide Development Opportunities
Different skill sets are needed by a leader. It can be software skills to be able to generate and understand a report effectively. Or it can be soft skills like public speaking. Make sure that potential leaders have awareness and access to development opportunities. This can be lessons, meetings with industry experts, or informal learning via industry forums.
If your company uses an office communication app like Beekeeper, then development opportunities can be shared company-wide and can also be an opportunity for the employee to learn intra-company networking skills.
Give your employees some of your easier tasks and hold them accountable. Employees who feel that they are trusted build self confidence and perform better. Since they are now accountable for the task, they strive to learn the necessary skills for it – so ensure that development opportunities exist if needed.
As they become more competent and confident, you can give more challenging tasks. Not only does this helps the employee in developing skills and confidence, it also has the added benefit of familiarizing the employee with some of your tasks – easing the burden of onboarding.
Lead by Example
A manager must strive to model all the leadership skills and traits shown by a good leader. Are you committed? Are you showing transparency? Are you honest and sincere in your discussions with employees? How you handle challenges, normal tasks, and how you interact with others will be adopted by your team. Ensure that you set the most positive example and not be an example of what not to do.
Having good leaders is essential to any business. Units and whole businesses can succeed or fail based on the qualities of the leader. A good leader can drive production, develop their team, and maintain high-performers. A bad leader can cause people to leave and drive the business into the ground.