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How to develop leadership skills in employees?

For many people, working their way up a career ladder is a driving force that pushes them to perform their best in a role. Knowing that a salary raise, additional responsibilities and advanced learning is a possibility, encourages workers to stay driven. Once an employee has made their way up the career ladder and has reached a leadership role, they will usually be in charge of a group of employees.

Great leadership skills aren't something that can be learnt from a book, they should be taught through on the job experience. Training employees in leadership skills can allow an employee to see who is fit for such responsibilities.

The importance of properly training employees to be great leaders is something that should never be underestimated. Leaders set the tone for their team; a great leader can bring employee engagement and increase productivity, whereas a bad leader can make their employees unhappy and may even make them want to quit their job altogether.

To ensure that those in charge within your organisation are trained to be the best possible leaders, you should ensure that they are properly trained. Here, we discuss what leadership skills are, how to develop leadership skills, the benefits a good leader can bring and how to conduct leadership training.

Why it's important for your workforce to be good leaders

Good leaders are generally hard working individuals, with drive, initiative and great communication skills. All of these qualities are invaluable for any employee to have.

Of course, there are many other important skills that leaders have, and most of these can be positively applied in almost any position. For example, most leaders are responsible and dependable, regardless of whether the role is a leadership one or not, these qualities are inherently great to almost any job position.

When it comes to management roles, the way a leader treats their staff members has a massive impact on their happiness in the role and, in turn, their productiveness. A happy employee will be inclined to work harder, this is known as employee engagement. If the staff member isn't treated well by their manager, their employee engagement will be lower and they may be inclined to leave their job altogether.

So, the importance of placing the right people in leadership roles, and training them properly, is of utmost importance.

Benefits of developing leadership skills in your staff

Happier Employees

Practically everyone who has worked under someone else can agree that they are happier in their role when they are treated well by their superior. So, having an effective leader with strong leadership skills will make their employees a lot happier in their job.

Countless studies have found that employees that are unhappy with their leaders tend to be less productive. For example, if an employee is spoken down to or berated by their superior, they will feel disrespected and be less inclined to work hard. On the other hand, if the employee is treated well by their superiors, and encouraged to learn, then they will be happier and be inclined to work harder.

More initiative

When an employee feels like they are respected in their role, they will naturally feel more confident about their work. When an employee is confident they will be much more likely to speak up with ideas and make suggestion about what can be improved. Brainstorming sessions can be conducted with employees and can often help workshop ideas that may not have been thought of otherwise.

Boosted revenue

The bottom line is that happier employees are more productive. Of course, productivity is linked to increased profits and business success. So, if you want your business to operate at its maximum potential, you need to ensure that you have great leaders on board that your employees are happy to work under.

The fundamentals of employee leadership

Taking accountability

Everyone makes mistakes - and a mistake itself can simply be a learning opportunity. However, when a leader can't take responsibility for their mistakes then it can ruin trust within a team. A leader that can admit when they're wrong, and use the mistake as a learning curve, will help instil confidence within their team and encourage employees to speak up when they make a mistake themselves.

Delegating effectively

One of the main roles of being a leader is delegating work appropriate between employees. A leader should never take on all of the work themselves, and if they tend to do this then it could reflect that the individual isn't cut out to be a leader.

Good leaders should be able to recognise their employee's key skills and the areas that they aren't competent in. They should also be able to understand how much work an employee can realistically get through in a given time frame. From here, they can appropriately delegate work.

Proactivity and acting with purpose

Being proactive means identifying and addressing a problem before it happens. A great way for a leader to do this is to regularly meet with employees to discuss their current work. During this time the employees can share if they've faced any difficulties within their role, and the leader can look into these.

Responsibility and role-model behaviour

Successful leaders have the ability to take responsibility for their actions and ask as role models to their employees. A great leader will not only take responsibility for their team, but also for all stakeholders.

Mentoring and development

A great leader should want to bring out the best in their employees, and this is done by mentoring them and helping them develop. A leader will almost always be more experienced than those that they are in charge of. And, they should try and pass this experience down via mentoring in an effort to help their employees grow in their roles and advance.

How employee leadership looks in a COVID-world

The true strength of a leader is often shown when a crisis occurs, and COVID is surely one of the biggest crises that's happened in most peoples lifetimes. The effect the pandemic has had on the economy and many workplaces has been devastating.

For more places, leaders have had to navigate foreign territory with a new work-from-home format. For some leaders, these extreme changes may have been too much to handle, while for others, they may have thrived in change and shown both their employees and bosses how great of a leader they are.

Of course, in a remote working environment, leaders can't have much of a hands-on approach. However, there are still many ways for an individual to be an effective leader remotely.

Tips for training staff to be effective leaders

Work on your listening skills

While being a good listener may sound simple, it's of utmost importance when it comes to being a great leader. When an employee feels heard, they also feel respected. This will make them be a lot more inclined to work hard at their job. It will also make them feel more confident, and be willing to offer new ideas and to take initiative.

Perfect your communication skills

As a leader, great communications skills are so important. A single conversation that's approached wrong may leave a worker very upset and with resentment. Good leaders should never be dismissive or talk down to their employees. They should also always keep communication lines open.

Learn how to handle failure

At some point or another, everyone will fail at something in their life. If this happens in the workplace, a great leader will be able to accept their wrong doings, and learn from them. This is particularly important as a leader, because employees look to them as a role model. If a leader isn't able to realise, and take responsibility for, their wrong doing, then the employees below them won't be inclined to do so, either.

Build trust with your employees

Building trust with your employees will encourage motivation and boost morale. To build trust a leader can do things such as being open and honest about upcoming changes, having an open door policy, and encouraging them to try new tasks with great responsibilities.

Staying at the forefront of employee culture is crucial to your success

The importance of identifying and implementing measures that will help your leaders become the best they possibly can be is undebatable. However, if you aren't sure where to start, we have a team of skilled HR professionals who specialise in creating great leaders in all different fields of work.

Our team can help train your current or future leaders, help to build their leadership skills, give specific tips where needed, and/or make suggestions for software programs that can help your leaders. If you're interested in finding out more, you can contact us here.

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