As a manager, you always need an exit strategy. If you receive a promotion, you need a plan in place for someone to fill your role. For this reason, you need to prepare your employees for leadership positions now. Equipping them with management skills means they can make informed decisions, guide their peers, and be better qualified for opportunities as they come up.
Here are four ways to find future leaders in your organization.
Train your future leaders to network. Model how to initiate conversations, connect with strangers, provide something beneficial to the new connection, and ask for something the leader needs or wants. Start networking at company events like potlucks, sponsored meals, or after-work events. Encourage your leaders to have conversations with coworkers they don’t know. As their confidence increases, branch out to community- and industry-wide events. Down the road, send your leaders to represent your company at these events. When they move to leadership roles, they’ll have the contacts and people skills needed to succeed.
Hand out projects and assignments that provide experience with leadership duties. These skills are necessary to move up within your organization. You may decide to have leaders gain public speaking skills by giving a presentation to new hires, explaining what the department does within the company. Begin by having leaders watch you give the presentation. Eventually, have one leader at a time present in your place. You might decide to do the same for running meetings, overseeing projects, and other tasks. Ensure the leaders keep the team on task, meet objectives, and work collaboratively.
Allow for Struggle
Empower your future leaders to figure out problems on their own. Rather than taking over or providing the necessary resources when there’s a concern, point to a coworker who can help with the issue. For instance, if a leader needs help with a financial spreadsheet, introduce them to the head of the finance department and let them find a solution together. Although you can provide a bit of assistance along the way, allowing leaders to take on more responsibility teaches them to get what they need on their own.
Act as a mentor for your future leaders. You may encourage your team to read one book a month on leadership or management, then meet for lunch to talk about it. This helps develop their leadership skills and career growth. Leaders gain a better idea of how they want to lead and can begin enhancing their management skills. Or, you can find opportunities to talk individually with your employees about their goals, ideas to implement, and struggles they experience while taking on leadership roles. You can provide advice and encouragement during your talks.