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5 Strategies That Will Turn Your Employees Into Leaders

My boss once told me that managers should always have an exit strategy. Because if (fingers crossed) you receive a promotion or new position, you’ll need to have a plan in place for your departure—including a solid suggestion for someone to fill your role. And that means you need to be preparing your employees for leadership now.

Of course, being a manager isn’t all about you—it’s important to instill leadership skills in your employees for the good of their careers, too. When they’re equipped with management skills, they’ll be able to make informed decisions, guide their peers (and eventually their direct reports), and be better qualified for opportunities that come their way.

But, developing your employees into leaders isn’t an instantaneous shift—so it’s important to start now. In my experience as a manager, I’ve found that these five strategies are vital to start developing the skills that will benefit you and your employees.

1. Teach Them to Network
When I started one of my first management positions, my boss constantly took me along to networking events, even though I absolutely dreaded them. But through those events (in all their awkward glory), I learned how to forge connections with strangers, confidently initiate conversations, and ask for something I need or want—while providing something mutually beneficial to my new connection.
2. Give Them the Right Experience

As you dole out projects and assignments, give some thought to the unique duties you have as a manager. These are the skills that your employees may not be familiar with—but should, if they aim to move up within the organization. Then, find ways for your employees to start gaining experience in those areas.

3. Allow Them to Struggle a Little

When an employee needs help with a task, he or she typically comes to you, so you can either take over or provide the resource that will help accomplish the task. And in most cases, fulfilling that managerial duty is perfectly fine. But when you’re coaching your employees to become leaders, I’ve found that it’s beneficial to push them to figure out how to get what they need—on their own.

4. Be a Mentor

As you’re helping your employees gain leadership skills, you’ll likely take on a mentor-mentee relationship with them. And this natural progression is a very beneficial tool to continue honing their leadership skills—so use it to the fullest.

5. Create an Ownership Mentality

Most importantly, you can coach people in leadership day after day—but they won’t actually use those skills unless they feel like a trusted, valued, and impactful part of the company. Think about it: If you teach your employees how to make smart, informed decisions, but still require that they run every idea by you before they’re allowed to make a move, how empowered will they feel?

Creating an ownership mentality starts with trusting your employees and giving them the authority to make certain decisions. I learned this firsthand when I was put in charge of a client event while my boss was out of town and completely out of touch. With no one else to lean on, I was forced to make decisions on my own, no matter how unsure I was. Eventually, I became more and more confident in making decisions solo (even if it took a couple slip-ups—a.k.a. “learning experiences”—to solidify that skill).

This can also mean listening to and implementing their ideas or giving them a little personal time to work on a side project that they think will boost sales. When you make your employees feel like an integral part of the company, they will naturally rise to the occasion and emerge as leaders.

 

Read the original article from Forbes.com: https://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymuse/2013/06/25/5-strategies-that-will-turn-your-employees-into-leaders/#2e44d58f7f6e

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