Most leaders will probably acknowledge that they were neither naturally-born, nor did they embark on their career journey as ones. There was an employer at the beginning of their career who singled them out, who saw their talent and worked deliberately to instill leadership skills in them. Realizing one’s full potential largely depends on whether their predecessors are willing to help them transform. Thus, it is time the baton was passed on to the next generation of talent. The following strategies perfectly encapsulate how to nurture great leaders:
1. Teach them to network.
Networking is not merely paramount to professional growth. It is also vital for an employee’s survival as a potential leading figure in an industry. Therefore, they should be encouraged to spread their wings and branch out both within the workplace and outside it. Inviting good employees to industry events will allow them to forge outside bonds and build their confidence both of which are likely to be beneficial for the employee as a potential leader and the organization as a whole.
2. Mentor them.
When the goal is to expand an employee’s role and skills, mentoring them is inevitable. Who can better offer them guidance and support other than the leader who has noticed their potential? In case this is not possible due to workload, a mentorship program should be put in place to help gifted employees hone their leadership skills. Other, more experienced employees and/or teams could join in the effort. Job shadowing is a prime example, as observing how others work offers valuable insight and can boost performance.
3. Offer them professional development opportunities.
Ensuring that employees are provided with ample opportunities to grow professionally cannot be stressed enough. Investing in furthering their education and organizing training workshops both internally and externally are only some examples of how this can be achieved.
4. Provide regular feedback.
The backbone of regular and constructive feedback provision is having open communication channels. Meeting with them on a regular basis will allow leaders to manage expectations and employees to improve their performance and decide how they can further develop.
5. Model suitable leadership behaviours.
Employees emulate the attitudes and practices of their leaders. Therefore, leaders should lead by example and be transparent, driven, committed and respectful if they want to be the Pygmalion of the next great leader.