Of the 28 million or so American small businesses, only about 4 million have employees other than the owners. Still, the goal of any business is to grow, and eventually, success is going to mean hiring talent.
Finding the right talent to lead your business forward, however, can be a challenge for many small business owners, as well as CEOs, executives and managers. How do you locate and nurture great leaders to boost overall success?
Want to stand out among organizations as one who can identify potential leaders and train them for greatness? Check out the following eight ways to find and nurture great leaders at your company:
1. Identify the qualities of a great leader
Before you can seek out great leaders at your company, you must determine what makes an outstanding leader. What qualities and traits does the ideal leader possess in your environment?
Develop a leadership profile consisting of the capabilities, behaviors and attributes needed to be a successful leader in your company. Not only will this leadership profile help you evaluate candidates, but it can inspire behaviors for workers to mirror.
2. Get your management team on board
It’s not enough to develop a leadership profile for your own use. Unless your entire management team is on board, it won’t be able to properly nurture potential leaders within your organization. Once you’ve clearly defined what great leadership looks like at your company, share the profile with your management team, ensuring that all supervisors and decision-makers are on board.
You can reinforce the profile over time by sharing it in blogs, social media posts, internal memos, newsletters and other company communications. Be sure your management team always models the behaviors listed in the leadership profile.
3. Invite interviewee questions
Some business leaders make the mistake of hiring candidates to fill a specific role and worrying about their future leadership potential later. Instead, successful recruiters and managers look for a candidate with the aptitude to soar to greater heights. Can you identify leadership potential during a job interview?
You can ask as many probing questions as you want, and you’ll only get a taste of who the candidate might be as a leader. But, if you open the interview up to greater conversation and prompt the candidate to ask their own questions, the responses can offer greater insight into their character and leadership abilities.
4. Boost recruitment satisfaction with knowledge
How do you keep your leaders happy and fulfilled once you’ve brought them on board at your company? If you hire the best and the brightest, you should treat them as such. Don’t drop your leaders into your company and leave them to fend for themselves, learning the ropes as they go. Instead, properly introduce them to your brand, products, customers and company culture through onboarding presentations.
Onboarding is more than simple orientation. It involved the entire process from salary negotiation and contracts to training and social introductions. Beautiful.ai and other PowerPoint-alternative software tools make it simple to craft an entire onboarding program with interactive presentations. Don’t forget to include your leadership profile!
5. Embrace leadership qualities
To truly nurture leaders in your company, it’s vital to encourage them to display leadership qualities and take risks in their jobs. If workers are afraid to think outside the box and step outside of their defined roles, they won’t be able to demonstrate leadership abilities. How do you provide this encouragement? Demonstrate a culture of risk tolerance, and reward employees for their leadership abilities without punishing them for unsuccessfully trying a new approach.
According to Deloitte, when organizations value risk-taking – meaning they welcome new concepts and ideas – they are five times more likely to effectively anticipate and respond to change and seven times more likely to innovate well compared to companies that were intolerant to taking risks.
6. Welcome diverse perspectives
Deloitte also found that 76% of organizations plan to develop leaders with activities like job rotations. This indicates a proper emphasis on exposing business leaders to a variety of perspectives within the company.
Not only does this experience provide a greater understanding of the company and how it works, but exposure to colleagues provides employees a greater perspective of their peers. Even a diverse workplace won’t fully benefit from the variety of personnel if the personalities are not exposed to and don’t interact with one another.
7. Master the art of delegation
Delegation is not only a useful skill, when done well it can be an art form. One of the best ways to nurture leaders in a company is to offer them greater responsibility. Just because you can do a task yourself, that doesn’t mean a solo effort is the best long-term decision for the brand.
Take opportunities to extend responsibilities to potential leaders, letting them showcase their abilities and test the waters in the leadership pool. Besides, delegating helps existing leaders to shine, and sharing the load while mentoring recruits is a great way to advance your own career.
8. Coach for success
Don’t reserve coaching for mistakes and opportunities. Instead, coach your teams toward success on a consistent basis. Promote leadership evolution within your organization by providing ongoing support and education to your team.
The continued training will not only keep workers engaged with their jobs, but it also nurtures their relationship with the company and sharpens their skills along the way. Be sure to hold regular meetings with each team member, focusing on not only opportunities but also accomplishments.