6 Powerful ways to develop your employees as leaders

Woman leading a meeting

When you think about the future leaders of your company, which names come to mind? Who are your company’s next-generation leaders?

The truth is, many organizations struggle to determine who their future C-suite executives, board members, directors, and managers will be. It’s not that these organizations don’t have plenty of potential candidates. It’s that they don’t know who will rise to the top.

However, leadership doesn’t happen automatically. Developing leaders shouldn’t be a “wait and see” activity at your company. It takes proactive planning to develop leaders and help them achieve their full potential.

If you’re wondering how to develop leaders in your organization who can find success for decades to come, read on. Below are six effective ways of developing emerging leaders and helping them flourish.

1. build their emotional intelligence

High emotional intelligence (EQ) is a hallmark of great leaders. Contrary to popular belief, EQ isn’t an inborn trait but an acquired skill that can be built through leadership development education and ongoing practice.

Leaders with high EQ are good at adapting to change, resolving conflicts, and using feedback to find creative ways to succeed. These are all excellent qualities to have in a leader at your company, especially if you’re hoping to grow and expand the business.

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2. Help Them Develop Interpersonal Skills

Another powerful way to develop leaders is to help them hone the valuable interpersonal skills it takes to effectively manage teams of people. Some of the most important interpersonal skills for team-building include:

  • Active listening
  • Patience
  • Flexibility
  • Empathy
  • Problem-solving
  • Conflict resolution

When someone is skilled at managing interpersonal interactions, it’s much easier for them to build team rapport and camaraderie. Even when major challenges arise, they can use their interpersonal skills to handle things thoughtfully and continue supporting their teams along the path to success.

3. Support Positive Communication

While communication is critical in the workplace, not all communication is positive. It’s essential to root out negative messages to keep communication flowing productively in a way that encourages and motivates people.

Leaders are responsible for creating a culture of positive or negative communication. By developing leaders’ communications skills and helping them practice handling difficult situations, a company sets a standard of positive communication. 

4. Create Respect and Authority

Terms like “respect” and “authority” carry both negative and positive connotations. While both of them are crucial for organizational success, the business shouldn’t be a dictatorship.

How do you build leaders who garner respect and authority? Teach them how to balance a need for authoritative leadership with soft skills like showing emotional vulnerability, caring, and using words of appreciation with their employees. 

Encourage one-on-one discussions between employees and managers beyond the annual review process. Give them time and space to build personal connections that lead to deep feelings of respect and admiration.

5. Hold Them Accountable

The world’s most successful companies have a high level of personal accountability where each employee takes responsibility for successes and failures. Accountability involves staying open to feedback and using it constructively to move toward achieving personal and professional goals.

Accountability is not an excuse to criticize people; it’s about holding employees accountable positively and productively, which takes education and practice on the part of leaders. When everyone is in the habit of staying accountable, it brings them together in the spirit of achievement.

11 Ways To Create Accountability And Increase Productivity At Your Organization. Download this whitepaper.

6. Use Coaching and Development, Not Just Training

Finally, one of the most powerful ways to develop leaders is to provide them with the resources to grow and expand their skills. Too often, only lip service is paid to leadership development; no action is actually taken to develop emerging leaders. 

For meaningful, lasting change, experts recommend robust coaching and development programs as opposed to simple training programs. This is the best way to develop a new generation of leaders.

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How to Develop Leaders in Your Organization

At Leadership Resources, we help companies develop their most promising achievers into high-performing leaders. When your company needs to implement an effective leadership development plan, we’re here to provide expert guidance and support.

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