The constant debate of whether or not leaders are born or made is a challenge many organizations face. Many organizations are driven to perform, produce, and profit. After all, you are not in business unless your business is making money.
If you are a leader, you know you cannot motivate anyone to do anything but you can “flick the light switch” for that “ah-ha” moment by askin
g questions and encouraging self-reflection. There are several ways you can cultivate leadership skills in your people.
Create a Strong Vision. If the people you lead can see themselves engaged in your vision, you will have willing participants. However, if they cannot see where they fit into your plan, you may encounter resistance or cynicism. A strong vision gives people something to look forward to in anticipation.
“It’s not what the vision is, it’s what the vision does.” – Peter Senge
Offer Educational Opportunities. Education comes in a variety of forms: TED Talks, Journals, Leadership Books, Case Studies, Audio books, You Tube Videos, Workshops, and Conferences. Encourage book discussions or presentations on a workshop they have attended. When your people are learning and growing so is your organization. Education is often one of the first areas cut when their needs to be a cost savings when it should be the last. You never know what creative ideas your people may come up with when they have new knowledge and develop their competencies.
Make Mentorship or Coaching Available. A mentor or coach can help answer questions and challenge assumptions. They can act as a strategic thinking partner. A mentor can share their personal experiences about how he or she handled a particular situation. Whereas, a coach ask questions that encourage self-reflection about potential next steps. Growth is accelerated when you have this type of support system in place.
Encourage Open Communication. Create opportunities for your people to share their successes and challenges so others can learn from them. Take time to acknowledge their efforts. You create unity among team members when they feel their voice and ideas are heard and considered. When your people know that you value them, they will be more engaged in supporting the vision.
“Leaders who make it a practice to draw out the thoughts and ideas of their subordinates and who are receptive even to bad news will be properly informed. Communicate downward to subordinates with at least the same care and attention as you communicate upward to superiors.” – L.B. Belker
Allow for creativity and calculated risk. Organizations advance when they allow their people to get creative and express their ideas. As a leader, you can ask questions so they evaluate the risks and benefits of their ideas. If you do not allow for creativity, other organizations will surpass your organization.
It is important to tap into the diversity of organization. Take time to learn about the knowledge, skills, and abilities the people in your organization have. Some people may be savvy in social media or have strong writing skills but their current role does not allow for them to showcase these talents. As a leader, we need to discover some of these hidden gems that may propel your organization forward. Working from a place of strength is one of the most powerful ways to grow your organization so that it is performing, producing, and profiting. It begins with developing your people.
DEBRA KASOWSKI, BScN CEC is an award-winning best-selling author, transformational speaker, blogger, and Certified Executive Coach. She has a heart of a teacher and is certified in Appreciative Inquiry and Emotional Intelligence. She is a contributing writer for Diversity Magazine and Fabulous at 50 magazine. Debra Kasowski International helps executives, entrepreneurs, and organizations boost their productivity, performance, and profits. It all starts with people and passion. www.debrakasowski.com