Inspiring Workplace Leadership
Some say that leaders are born not made, but the truth is anyone can be a leader—people only say that because they fear competition. When you run a business, sometimes the most knowledgeable and expert individuals have the worst leadership skills. If you have employees that are born to lead and just don’t know it yet, here are some qualities to look for and some tips that will help you inspire them in the workplace.
Qualities that Make a Great Leader
A great leader has empathy for those working underneath them and knows how to relate to the problems that they might be facing. Being a leader isn’t about coming down hard on an employee who is underperforming—it’s relating to and inspiring them.
Before considering an employee for upper management, ask yourself, “Is this person dependable? Can I count on them to perform under stress and pressure?” If the answer isn’t an obvious and immediate, yes, you might want to reconsider your selection. A leader is someone you don’t have to worry about being able to count on.
A leader can’t be made out of someone who is irresponsible. A background check is your first step in vetting your employees and can help you place an individual that will do great work and stay with your company for a long time. Background checks cost a fraction of what you will save in the long run in turnover costs and losses in productivity, so it’s best not to overlook this important step.
A team is only as strong as its weakest member. A great leader knows when to sacrifice his own time to help someone else. When you find an employee who embodies selflessness you should move them into a position of leadership—just be sure that they aren’t selfless to a fault.
Honesty and Integrity
Admitting when you’ve made a mistake or recognizing your faults isn’t easy. A good leader knows how to look at themselves objectively, admit their flaws, and take responsibility for things that go wrong in the workplace.
The difference between a belief and disbelief mindset is astounding. Richard Bach once said, “Argue for your limitations, and sure enough they’re yours.” A true leader will be faced with a difficult task and say “I can” rather than “I can’t.”
Your team looks up to its leaders, and if you want employees to give their all, you need someone who does the same. Leading by example inspires admiration and breeds passion. The desire to impress a team lead can be a powerful motivator. Look for passion in every employee holding a leadership position.
High pressure and stressful situations are going to arise and responsibility will fall on the shoulders of your higher-ups. Great decision-making skills are a must. You need someone who can assess a situation and make the right decision quickly.
If you’ve found a candidate that possesses these qualities, help foster their leadership capabilities through the following:
Leadership conferences are a great way to train employees that are moving up in your company on how to be exceptional leaders. Leadership conferences are offered in every state all over the country. At these conferences, your employees will learn valuable communication and conflict resolution skills for the workplace. These events can also be a great way to get your company out in the open. A lot of networking happens at these kinds of events, so be sure to send your new managers on their way with plenty of business cards.
Chances are that you already have a few employees in leadership positions at your company. Try pairing your higher-ups with your soon-to-be upper management so they can pass on their knowledge and experience. Nothing will help your employee flourish more than getting firsthand experience in meetings, hiring, and project management than training under one of your best and brightest.
Climate and Culture
A great company creates a workplace culture that inspires greatness. Everyone has the potential to be a great leader; if you create a workplace climate that draws out leadership qualities, half the work is already done. Make sure that you have open avenues of communication within your company. If someone is performing exceptionally, you want to be able to find out who and bring them up in the company.
Keep your ear to the ground in the workplace and seek out those rising star employees just waiting to become great leaders.