Organizations of all shapes and sizes benefit from stronger internal leadership. Better leaders in your company will empower and encourage your team members to achieve their full potential. They’ll be decisive and accountable, allowing them to guide your organization to new heights. And they’ll serve as excellent examples for the people that come after them, creating a feedback loop of strong leadership that can perpetuate for years.
The question is, how can you cultivate and support better leadership within your organization?
Pursue Leadership Coaching
One answer is to hire a coach for business leaders. Leadership coaches are trained, experienced professionals who spend their careers helping other people become effective leaders.
When you hire one, they’ll come to your organization to help you identify prospective leadership candidates, host workshops, provide one-on-one training sessions, and much, much more.
Leadership coaches do cost some money, but this is a long-term investment. With better, more professional guidance, your employees will be in a much better position to become the leaders they were meant to be.
One of the most important aspects of cultivating better leadership in your organization is selectively promoting people into leadership roles. If you can identify the best candidates for leadership positions, half your work will be done for you. While it’s definitely possible to train someone to become a good leader, even if they don’t have many existing leadership qualities, it’s much easier to find people with natural leadership qualities and minimize the time you spend training.
Your employees with the following qualities are most likely to turn into good leaders, so it’s important to focus your attention on these:
- Decisiveness. Strong leaders are decisive, meaning they make decisions and take action rather than indefinitely hesitating. If faced with a tough problem or challenge, they don’t shrug their shoulders or turn to someone else to solve it for them. If they have all the necessary information, they pull the trigger on a decision. In many leadership scenarios, any decision is better than no decision, so this trait pays off.
- Self-awareness. Strong leaders are also self-aware. They understand what their strengths and weaknesses are, and they can make plans and produce environments that allow them to emphasize those strengths and minimize those weaknesses. Similarly, self-aware leaders are able to identify weak points in their leadership approaches and improve themselves over time.
- Credibility and respect. Ideally, your leadership candidates will naturally generate credibility and respect. The people around them will hold them in high regard, either because of their demonstrated talent or because of their respect for other people. In any case, the best leadership candidates are already admired and respected.
- Authenticity. When demonstrating leadership, does your leadership candidate seem like they’re acting out a role? Or do they seem like a natural fit for this position? Many personality types can become leaders, but authenticity is a prerequisite.
- Genuine commitment. Does your leadership candidate show genuine commitment to the company and the people around them? Are they dedicated to this cause and willing to put forth effort for it?
Provide Exposure to the Rest of the Business
Once you identify ideal leadership candidates and provide some initial coaching, you should provide them with exposure to the rest of the business. The best leaders are ones who understand how the organization works from top to bottom, so they can better understand their own role and provide guidance to the people underneath them.
Don’t underestimate the value of mentorship. Your company probably already has some effective leaders in place, so you use those existing leaders to mentor and train the up-and-comers. These one-on-one interactions can be powerful learning experiences; your mentors can explain their philosophies on leadership, how they make decisions, and how they build relationships with other employees. Your leadership candidates don’t have to mimic these approaches identically, but they can learn from them and use them to develop their own approach.
Reward Leadership Excellence
Finally, make it a point to reward any leadership excellence that you see. When one of your new leaders demonstrates decisiveness by taking action in the face of tremendous pressure, acknowledge them. When they spend time building better relationships and training a team, and that team then sees excellent results, reward the leader and the entire team tangibly. If a leader consistently demonstrates excellence in their role, over the course of years, consider promoting them to a higher position.
Training and cultivating better leadership in your organization isn’t always easy or cheap, but it is always possible. If you’re proactive enough to identify promising leadership candidates, if you’re willing to hire business leadership coaches, and if you’re willing to keep training and encouraging your leaders once they’re promoted, your entire organization will benefit.