One of the best ways to keep your business strong and vital is to invest in the development of your team, challenging each of them to grow as individuals, team members, and even leaders. In time, you may find yourself in the desirable position of needing to create departments within your company due to growth and expansion. You will need developed leaders who can take charge and handle those new areas of your business. 

Here are some ways you can challenge your team to be leaders: 

Your first step will need to be to assess and observe your team to determine who the best candidates might be for leadership training. Some of your people may seem as though they were born to be leaders. But keep in mind that even those who exhibit some leadership qualities naturally won’t turn into great leaders without help. Training and instruction are going to be necessary to refine their natural abilities and nurture their skills. Remember, too, that employees who have a lot of potential but who feel they aren’t growing are going to be very apt to leave your organization and find another one that will help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Providing training and mentoring for these people will help you in your retention and will benefit your company over time. 

One of the most important aspects your leaders should learn is this: there is a big difference between being a manager and being a leader. People who lead are often those who get out there and work alongside the rest of the staff, while those who are content to just manage won’t see things quite the same way. If your candidate is pretty happy about being a “boss,” they may not be the best pick for leadership training, either. A true leader won’t focus on the fact that people are working for them. Their focus will be on getting the whole team over the finish line, and they won’t mind getting their own hands dirty along with everyone else. 

Your leaders will also need to know all the aspects of your business so that they have a solid understanding of what you do and what it will take to get you to the next level. One way you can implement this is by shadowing. Take your trainee with you to every meeting or on every trip and let them see you in action for a few days or weeks as you walk through all the challenges of your own position. You may want to turn up the heat just a bit by delegating some of your tasks to them to see how they handle them. A strong leader will take on a challenge without backing off, even if the task is unfamiliar. 

Set learning goals for your leaders-in-training. Achievable goals are a great way to help people move forward and become more proactive and confident. When they reach their goal, they are going to be proud of their achievement and feel encouraged to take on the next challenge. 

Schedule regular times to meet with them to go over their training so that they can talk through any concerns or questions that they may have. This will also give you the opportunity to share your feedback with them. You will both be able to resolve any conflicts or correct any issues before a larger problem develops. 

A great leader always has the organization’s best in mind, and encouraging new talent is going to be important to someone who is trained to lead. Your trainee may benefit from having their own trainee to work with, once they reach a level of competence that you are comfortable with. This will challenge them to always keep the succession in mind and to continually strive to mentor, develop, and train the next generation of staffers. 

I’m AnnaVija McClain, and for the past decade, I’ve helped business owners boost their profitability while achieving increased personal fulfillment. I have also helped to equip hundreds of young professionals with the skills and resources that they needed to successfully transition from college into their careers. My experience in this area can be put to work for you. If you are interested in challenging your team to be leaders, let’s sit down and create a training and mentorship program to help you do just that!