As much as we may detest the notion behind the saying ‘your team is only as strong as your weakest team member’, the unfortunate truth is that in any team, this is the case. The problem is that this issue is ignored, brushed under the carpet with the team ‘closing ranks’ to make up for any perceived weakness. But, there is one problem with this; the team will effectively stand still for, at some point, everyone in the team will need to have new or improved skills invested in them. If not, the results can be devastating and possibly catastrophic to your business. Clearly, investing time, energy and money in to employees, giving them new skills, improving their current set if important in terms of not just output or productivity, but quality, morale and retention of staff. But, there is a flip side to this, having a great team of people, bursting at the seams with fabulous skills and qualities is only productive is they are being led by a competent leader, with focus, as well as working towards collaborative goals.
Identifying and developing leaders
There are several ways that you can look at to work out how to find the leaders in your business and help them grow identify what skills people need, as well as coaching those who could become the great leaders you need in your organisation;
There are many examples of great leaders who testify that their leadership skills were borne from mentoring they received in their early years of business, Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook, is just one of them.
For leaders to truly inspire and lead a team on to success, they need to be able to teach and this is where a good mentor comes in to the picture. A mentor believes in their mentee but also sees the ‘human’ side; what scare them, inspires them and excites?
A trained mentor will also know when to push their mentee, encourage them to take risks and strive for success. These sessions can be incredibly useful and forward-thinking.
- Sharing knowledge
We all grow by learning. And it is amazing how big an impact the ‘small things’ have but are rarely shared or discussed. Creating an environment or an opportunity where ideas and knowledge can be shared is essential.
However, you need to keep hold of this and make sure it is not just an older or senior employee telling the newbies ‘not to do that, but do this’. People need to be able to fail, as well as be successful, as it is the reviewing process that helps us learn, just as much as the doing and completing of tasks.
- Invest time
Time is money, and for a small business this can be a big test but, potential leaders need to have time invested in them.
As a leader, you too need to sit down with people and in a constructive, friendly atmosphere offer constructive, critical appraisal of where they need to be at or doing. People also need to feel they are being responded to, in a timely manner thus, when they raise something with you, respond quickly and objectively.
- The right people in the right position
As a leader, it is you responsibility to make sure that your team of people are working on a project to the best of their ability. And this can mean making tough decisions. There is no point in your project floundering simply because you have a soft spot for person A, even though they are clearly not suited to the role they are doing. By shifting them to another role or task, they will flourish.
There is a difference between training someone in a new position, and leaving them there to fail. You should have your finger on the pulse of everyone’s skills and abilities, moving them as needed. There may be times this is considered a demotion, and other times a step up.
No one said being a leader was easy…
- Create development plans
Every employee needs to feel appreciated and invested in, thus creating development plans for their continuing professional development is an essential role of a good leader. Recognising their current skill set, skills they need to acquire along with their own goals are all taken in to account.
Good leaders are tough to find but, when you do come across them in life, you realise they all have similar traits. They may be understated people, calm and collected and yet, dynamic, loud without being brash, approachable and clear on goals.
They are also people who lead by example; in before everyone else, and the last out. They seem to have everything balanced and when they do make a decision that seems ‘wrong’, they acknowledge this and review what did go wrong.
Leaders in your business will help it grow and so, if you are determined to take your business to the nest level, seek out your leaders and develop them, without fear.