In the official corporate hierarchy, there are business owners and managers. However, sometimes the true leaders of the business aren’t in either one of those groups.
Sometimes the people who drive the business, inspire the team and create the most value have no official leadership title at all. Sometimes they are the person who leads the weekly revolt against management. Sometimes they are the person who can get the message across, and get the team organized to execute. One of the world’s top leadership experts and Canadian writer Robin Sharma calls this “Leading without Title.”
Failure to recognize who your real leaders are, and failure to foster and leverage their leadership talents means you are missing out on an important resource. As well, what can be even worse is fighting against the individuals who influence the human performance within your company. This can lead to low morale and increased negativity among the team.
Leaders can be at any level. As a business owner, you must have a thorough knowledge of all the levels and departments within your company, listen to the ideas presented to you, and begin to identify the natural leaders in your organization (most of the time this doesn’t align with the leadership roles in the org chart). Furthermore, leadership is about inspiring, guiding, supporting and directing. It is a way to be, not just a title or role.
It is something that can be delivered and offered by many people in any company. In fact, thriving organizations encourage individuals at every level to take on a leadership role. It starts by creating a leadership culture, and by recognizing that leadership can be a shared trait rather than a power tool to be coveted.
How to Create a Culture of Leadership Within Your Company
Leadership is something to be shared within an organization. Instead of fighting your natural leaders, foster and reward their efforts. If you’d like to encourage leadership from every level of your organization, consider implementing these actions within your team:
#1: Empower People to Lead – Give people the chance to be president for a week, run a weekly meeting, or lead a key office initiative. This exercise can also help encourage empathy as people discover how tough being a leader can be.
#2: Sell Your Vision – Communicate your vision for the business to your team, and ask for their help in making it a reality. This will give your employees a shared sense of responsibility, and encourages your natural leaders to see a future for themselves in the organization.
#3: Host Lunch and Learns – Make it a requirement that everyone has to organize and offer a “Lunch and Learn” to the entire office once a year. This will help even the most shy employees get out of their comfort zone, and encourage your team to share their ideas.
#4: Encourage Community Leadership – Every team member gets paid to volunteer time in the community where they are a leader. The life skills and experience gained will give back to the company tenfold.
#5: Create Leadership Opportunities – Create mini-departments or projects that can be managed by team members, and give them autonomy in deciding how they would like to run it.
#6: Become Numbers-Focused – Become a deadline, timeline and metrics driven organization. It forces performance and teaches leadership under pressure.
#7: Encourage Networking – Networking is essential to individual growth and business development. Start small by encouraging networking in the workplace with after-hours events, then begin to have employees connect with industry professionals outside the organization. Networking not only provides business opportunities, but in addition, can turn good employees to great leaders by increasing their reputation in the industry.
#8: Support Through Coaching – Support your potential leaders through coaching. Encourage their development with one-on-one discussions, and through providing guidance and advice. As well, help them identify and address their weaknesses, along with their strengths. This not only encourages leadership, but helps build a positive rapport with your employees so they feel supported.
Identifying and cultivating future leaders is essential to a company’s long-term health and success. If you want your employees to take charge, create a culture that encourages growth. Allow your trusted team members to make decisions or take active part in the decision making. Additionally, give them more responsibility and push them beyond their comfort zones, but also remember to praise and appreciate their efforts. Creating new leaders is the ultimate expression of your own leadership.
The development and growth of your company is not just about revenues and profits but also the personal growth of owners, managers and the team. It’s about finding a larger vision and shared purpose, and then executing a pragmatic plan to make those goals a reality for the benefit of all stakeholders. At Evolve Business Group, our high-performance business coaching is for established business owners who are ready to grow, but unsure of how to move their business forward. With our training, we can help you learn how to recognize and foster talent within your team. If you’re ready to reach your growth goals today, contact us for a free consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.