The Importance of Training Leaders and How to Do It
with Josh Felber
with guests Marisa Murgatroyd, Dan Martell, David Osborn, Michael Gerber, Robert Kiyosaki, Diana House and Dan Fleyshman #MakingBankS4E45
Finding people within your organization who have leadership capability and training them to take on a bigger role can be a huge asset to your organization. Rather than just bringing in high paid executives from outside, training leaders up from within is a more organic way to grow your company that instills pride in your workforce and helps create a more positive company culture.
You should always be on the lookout for people within your organization who you think can take on leadership roles. It’s easy to hire a great software engineer – you can look at their resume and understand on paper what they’re capable of – but pinning down who can be a good leader is a much harder process.
It’s not that it’s a talent you have to be born with – it’s not, it’s a skill that is learned – but it’s a much more abstract skill that can’t exactly be tested for or displayed on paper. You need to spend time around a person to understand their leadership capabilities. That’s why picking leaders from within your company can actually be much more fruitful than taking a gamble on an outside hire.
Identifying people with leadership potential should always be on your agenda. Once you do, there are several ways you can go about training them.
- Set the Example
If you want certain members of your team to develop into leaders, start by being the leader you want them to become. Ultimately, the way you treat your team members reverberates throughout your organization, so if you want to have leaders who know how to take care of and inspire their team, the first thing you need to do is be that leader for them.
Do you have a coaching system in place? In what ways are you invested in making the people around you better and putting them in positions to succeed? Are you following through on a social level as well by personally being a pillar of support and guidance?
These are the qualities that a good leader has, and the qualities that a good leader can pass down to future leaders.[Text Wrapping Break]
2. Give them Variety
The best leaders need to have a broad understanding of many different elements of your organization. One important element of grooming a good leader is to have them build experience in different areas. They don’t need to be experts, but they need to have a solid understanding of each job function and how it works. This helps them envision the big picture, build relationships with the entire team and understand what is possible.
This is not a process that is completed overnight. It can best be achieved by dedicating years of experience in different departments, and it can be complemented well by a good coaching program. At the very least, make sure your future leaders have regular interactions with people from all different parts of your company, from IT to finance to HR.
Steering the ship is much easier if you know how all the moving parts in the engine room function smoothly together.
3. Share Responsibilities
Approach training leaders the same way you approach growing a garden or raising your children. You don’t water the soil one day and expect tomatoes the next, and you don’t hand your 8 year old the car keys and expect them to drive.
Be comfortable with growing slowly over time. When you think that someone is ready for a new responsibility, start sharing some of yours with them. Once they have gotten a handle on it, add another one to the mix, and so on.
A slow process is more manageable, provides real world experience, shows that you have confidence in them, and best of all, it frees you up to do more important things with your time, like investigating new product ideas, or perfecting your lasagna recipe!
4. Outward Facing Roles
Part of the responsibilities of a leader will be to deal with people and situations outside your organization as well as inside. That can come in many different forms, and it doesn’t always have to be the same for every leader.
Some leaders might be great at making deals with other companies, some might be great at PR, or some might be great at running the company food bank or other charity program. All of these are valid ways to build a reputation as a leader, and valuable aspects to have in someone the rest of your company depends on.
5. Communicate Your Expectations
The people you see as future leaders should know what you have in mind for them. Communicating your vision clearly will give them a boost of confidence and help them see themselves the way you see them. This will help kick their mind into gear on how they can become leaders years in advance, allowing them to grow more seamlessly into a higher role.
Have regular check-ins with your future leaders. Ask them what they see themselves growing into, how it’s going, and where they could use assistance. Keeping the lines of communication open is integral to achieving goals by keeping people motivated and on the same page.
Explain the process you plan to have them go through and what you think will come from it. Explain why you are exposing them to different areas of the business, what you think an outward facing role could do for them, and why you are sharing responsibilities with them slowly over time.
This is more than just training someone to perform a role. This is about instilling someone with the confidence and poise to take over as much of your work as possible and make your life easier. If you match your mentality with a good training program, you will have a team of leaders before you know it!