An obvious truth: Leadership skills are a distinct skill-set from professional and technical skills.
An obvious reality: It’s common to find leaders who were unprepared to lead when they were advanced into management positions. And some of them will never develop proper leadership skills, yet they are in-charge.
Here are three great ways you can help develop the next generation of leaders by working with your team. They are simple, effective, and can be easily be worked into the course of the day or the project:
1. Take them with you.
Bring a team member with you when you go to meetings; let them hear your discussions with other leaders. Let them watch you and other leaders work through real world issues. The opportunities to do this are endless, and the payoff in letting them see how things work behind the scenes is priceless to their development as leaders.
2. Give them the reigns.
Put developing leaders in charge as a short-term developmental assignment; even if they are not “technically” the senior person. This lets the aspiring leader see what works and what doesn’t. This also helps them build confidence - firsthand. There is no substitute for experience, and this is one way to give it to them.
3. Coach them regularly
A great coach has an ongoing dialog with those they are coaching. When this happens regularly, the emerging leader is learning two vital skills. First, how to self assess and correct their performance. Second, how to coach others properly – a vital skill that many managers lack these days.
No one should be thrust into leading others unprepared. Let these three steps help ensure the legacy you leave as a leader is reflected in the well-prepared leaders of the future.