We’ve all probably heard the old adage before: there’s no ‘I’ in team. Every employee is an asset to the team and brings value by working together. A good leader follows this adage. But, a great leader gets the entire team in the “there’s no ‘I’ in team” mentality and builds them up to be future leaders by fostering leadership in the workplace.
6 Tips For Fostering Leadership
If you want to get your company on track for success and help mold the future leaders of your business, you have to build your team up to their full potential by fostering leadership. To encourage leadership in your workplace and become the best role model you can be for your team, follow the six tips below.
1. Be A Mentor
We all had someone we looked up to growing up. Maybe it was your father, mother, aunt, or uncle. Or, maybe you saw your teacher or friend as a role model. Regardless of who your role model was, they all have one thing in common: they helped you grow into the person you are today and lead you in the right direction.
Believe it or not, role models don’t just disappear after you become an adult. Well, at least they shouldn’t. If you want to foster leadership at your business and retain employees for the long-run, be a mentor to your employees.
Mentoring employees helps build members of your workforce into the future leaders of your company. Without a strong workforce with a solid foundation, your business can quickly crumble.
So, you’re probably wondering, Mike, what can I do to mentor my employees? Great question! To get started on being an all-star mentor and fostering leadership in the workplace, you can:
- Listen to your employees
- Check-in with workers on a regular basis
- Allow employees to learn from their mistakes
- Dole out tasks
2. Recognize Accomplishments
If you want to lead a productive team and grow your employees into leaders, you have to show employees that you care and appreciate a job well done. And to do that, you have to recognize accomplishments and give employees the recognition they deserve.
According to one survey, 58% of employees said leaders need to give more recognition to improve employee engagement.
If you’re not taking the time to recognize employees for their hard work, there’s no better time than the present. Consider organizing an employee appreciation day, implementing a peer recognition program (e.g., 15Five), or bringing in snacks or lunch for employees.
3. Invest In Your Team
You can’t expect your team to grow into leaders if you don’t invest the time and energy into them in the first place. If you want to unleash the full potential of your team, you have to invest in them.
Building employees into the future leaders of your business starts with improving skills and gaining knowledge. The more your employees learn, the better off your business will be in the long haul. To help your employees expand their skill sets, consider things like executive coaching, conferences, and workshops. These types of tactics allow your employees to grow within your business and encourage you to invest in your employees’ futures.
Investing in your team is a win-win for everyone. Employees are able to improve and expand their skills and your company becomes more knowledgeable as a whole. Who doesn’t want that?
4. Offer Consistent And Constructive Feedback
Part of being an A+ leader is being able to identify areas of improvement and finding solutions to employees’ weaknesses. If you want to grow your employees into leaders, you have to not only provide consistent feedback, but also constructive feedback.
The first thing you might think of when you hear constructive criticism is “harsh.” But when I think of constructive feedback, I think “helpful.” Constructive criticism doesn’t have to be mean. The whole point of it is to let employees know where they can improve and give them solutions on how they can do better in the future.
As a mentor and leader with the goal of creating prospective leaders, you should be setting aside time to meet with your team regularly. That way, you can identify strengths and weaknesses and develop ideas on how to improve weak spots. Not to mention, setting aside time with your team can give you the opportunity to give them some much-needed recognition and appreciation. And, it gives employees the chance to ask you questions.
Being a leader and mentor also means receiving constructive feedback from your team. So when meeting with your team members, don’t be afraid to ask, What can I do to improve and be a better leader?
At my accounting and payroll software company, Patriot Software, our teams use a mixture of strategies to get feedback. For example, some teams have daily standup meetings (about 10-20 minutes long) to have team discussions. Other teams utilize weekly 1:1 meetings with managers to receive feedback. Either way, our goal is to communicate with one another to offer and receive constructive feedback.
5. Build A Positive Work Environment
No one is a fan of negative work environments. After all, who wants to deal with something like that? If you want to foster leadership in the workplace, create a positive and productive work environment.
Positive workplaces not only give your employer brand a boost, but can also improve productivity and employee morale. If you want your employees to become the leaders of your startup, give them a workplace where they can shine, feel at home, and share innovative ideas.
For a workplace to be successful, it needs to be open, trusting, and fun. Take it from me, if you try to incorporate more fun into the workplace, you’ll see a spike in productivity. Plus, you’ll be more likely to keep those top-notch employees for many years to come.
If you’re not sure where to start when it comes to creating a positive work environment, you’re just in luck. Here are a few things you can do:
- Listen to everyone’s ideas
- Celebrate small and big wins
- Decorate the office during special occasions
- Bring in treats (e.g., pizza)
- Share your gratitude
- Do random acts of kindness
- Encourage others to think positively
6. Know When To Ask Questions
You live and you learn, am I right? You wouldn’t be the person you are today if you didn’t make a few mistakes along the way. You aren’t always going to have all of the answers—and that’s OK!
As an entrepreneur with over 30 years of experience, I’ve learned that there are going to be times when I need to ask questions. Part of fostering leadership is admitting when you don’t have the answer and seeking help when you need it.
Don’t know the answer? Ask your team. You don’t have to know it all to be a great leader. And, you certainly don’t want your future leaders to think they have to know it all to be successful.
You have a huge wealth of information in employees, so don’t let it go untapped. When seeking help from your team, you benefit by getting the answers you need and learning something new. Plus, it gives your employees the opportunity to showcase their knowledge and skills.