Leadership tends to be a skill most organizations seek in their employees and executive team. No surprise there. But leadership is also becoming an enigma in the ever-changing modern workplace. Increased remote work has created a heightened need for effective communication and changing leadership roles.
Ironically, 72 percent of corporate executives told Gap International they consider it “very important” to improve leadership at their companies, but just 43 percent of that same group said they foresee investing in leadership skills training. What gives?
Those executives must not realize that ineffective leadership carries its own costs— costs that easily can exceed any monetary investment in leadership training activities for employees. Bad leadership can result in dissatisfied employees, lower productivity, poor customer service and a high turnover rate— all consequences more costly than leadership development.
What if more executives and managers understood strategies for leadership team development that don’t have to cost an arm and a leg? Leadership skills training doesn’t require a huge investment. Leadership activities examples are practically endless.
Hoping to build an effective leadership team? Check out the following ways to foster leadership skills in your organization.
It might sound harsh, but some people just aren’t leadership material. But how do recruiters, trainers, managers and executives identify leadership potential without also spending resources on otherwise excellent employees who just aren’t cut from the leadership cloth? Looking for leadership potential isn’t an exact science, but there are ways to recognize potential leaders and nurture skills that will serve both them and your organization.
How can you select employees with the greatest leadership potential? For starters, look for a few signs of a future leader, including:
- Leaders earn respect instead of expecting it or demanding it.
- Leaders are enthusiastic about their work and the company.
- Leaders aren’t afraid to ask for help and appropriately delegate tasks.
- Leaders respond constructively to drawbacks and failures.
- Leaders demonstrate excellent communication skills.
- Leaders are effective listeners.
- Leaders are confident yet not boastful.
- Leaders motivate colleagues.
- Leaders can multitask.
- Leaders are eager to learn ways to improve.
Foster educational experiences
Some people are born leaders, and they already possess many of the qualities mentioned above. Others, however, might have immense potential, but they need to sharpen a few leadership skills. Even experienced leaders can benefit from activities and experiences that will improve their aptitudes for leading a team.
Don’t be afraid to challenge potential leaders and delegate certain managerial assignments, since those personal experiences will offer leadership education more than any type of training session or group activity. If at first they struggle, don’t immediately step in. Instead, allow potential leaders to find their own way, and provide only limited guidance as needed.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t plenty of leadership activities examples that help foster future leaders and develop the necessary skills, such as:
- Games in which teams must compete to solve puzzles or create projects that challenge their critical thinking and teamwork skills.
- Provide potential leaders with a difficult hypothetical situation and ask them to devise an effective solution, challenging their problem-solving skills and creativity.
- Assign potential leaders to mentor new employees.
- Ask potential leaders to create a training presentation to the team, focusing on leadership presentation ideas that mirror the presenter’s best leadership skills, then deliver the training during a team meeting.
You can foster all the leadership skills in the world among your employees, but their potential will be limited if they can’t expand beyond their current position. Progressing into a leadership role requires more than skill, however. As most modern professionals can attest, it’s also about who you know and on whom you’ve made a positive impression.
Networking, therefore, is a vital skill that often isn’t taught. But not all born leaders are natural networkers. Teaching your team how to network effectively can be pivotal in their professional futures and the company’s use of their full potential.
Offer mentorship or coaching
Whether or not it was your primary goal, your employees will consider you a type of mentor for helping them develop their leadership potential. Take advantage of the opportunity and work one-on-one with potential leaders to help them hone needed leadership with coaching that is tailored to their existing skills and opportunities.
If you are working with a larger number of potential leaders, you can even expand mentorship opportunities to involve other company leaders who can best mentor each individual.
Boost presentation skills
Communication is a vital skill among leadership teams for good reason. How effective can the other necessary aptitudes be if they aren’t communicated in an understandable and engaging manner? A significant part of modern business communication is the visual presentation.
Honing presentation skills, therefore, is another way to foster leadership skills in your organization. One of the best ways to prepare your team for future leadership is by training them for improved public speaking— although presentation delivery is only half the battle. The best presenters also rely on professional-level slide decks, designed with the principles of good design recommended by expert designers.
Beautiful.ai’s free PowerPoint-alternative visual presentation software makes it a cinch for even the most inexperienced presentation designers to create slide decks that look like they paid a top designer for them. Every time content is added to a slide, our AI-powered software automatically adjusts the design based on those all-important principles of great design, while saving much time and effort.
You can teach your employees any sort of leadership skill, but you also have to trust them to practice what you’ve preached. When developing a leadership team, you absolutely must create a mentality of trust and ownership. Without allowing them to take that ownership, you will have a hard time properly evaluating other leadership qualities like responsibility, motivation, adaptability and assertiveness.
Don’t hesitate to assign leadership mentees their own projects or invite them to help manage their own team. The ability to take ownership will set future leaders on the path to success.
“Any team, in any organization, all responsibility for success and failure rests with the leader,” wrote U.S. Navy SEAL officers Leif Babin and Jocko Willink in their book, “Extreme Ownership: How US Navy SEALS Lead and Win.” “The leader must own everything in his or her world. There is no one else to blame. The leader must acknowledge mistakes and admit failures, take ownership of them, and develop a plan to win.”