Any successful person in a managerial position understands the importance of one day filling his or her role. Should an opportunity arise where you as the sole leader of a team choose to move on from your job as manager, it is crucial that those working under you are left with someone able to uphold the standards and formalities you have done so before. With that said, instilling these skills in your employees can take time, and should begin early on in your career as a leader.
One of the easiest ways to develop a leadership mentality among your team members is to show just how valuable they are to you and those around them. An employee that feels like a key member of a company is much more likely to take ownership of his or her responsibilities, and feel confident in their everyday decisions. However, the first step is trusting them to do so. Allowing your employees freedom to make their own decisions in situations where it is appropriate can effectively prepare them for a managerial position without them even knowing.
While giving them this freedom is beneficial, it’s important to remain a mentor and a guide. You are still acting boss, so it’s important to maintain your authority, but it is perhaps just as important to develop relationships with your team members, showing them that you care about their growth and success. Be there for assistance at all times, but instill the ability to solve problems within your team members. Your advice as a leader will most likely manifest itself through their future achievements.
Mistakes are bound to happen. Punishing those for making these mistakes does not breed success, but rather hinders it. Allow your employees to struggle a little bit. Though this may sound counterintuitive, promoting self-awareness and more responsibility can help greatly in one’s growth as a professional.
Inspire employees to network. This is one of the most well-known forms of professional expansion out there. Bringing your team along with you on networking events, company gatherings, and other forms of public interaction can not only grow their networks but sharpen their communication skills as well. When the day comes when these employees are managers, attending these events will be regular occurrences, so their abilities to perform well within them should be developed early on.
It’s important to understand that this is not an overnight process. Instilling leadership qualities within your employees takes time, but that time is crucial. When an opportunity comes along for you to accept a better position, you’ll want to leave your mark by equipping those under you with the skills necessary to fill your shoes.