Does your leadership development strategy involve making your best employee now the leader for the other employees and hoping for the best? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. It does make sense to pick your best worker and promote them. And that worker does need to enjoy increased salary, and perks for great job performance. But have you stopped to consider whether or not that person even wants to lead others?

Here’s some things to think about:

MANAGER VS. LEADER

Darren Hardy said recently “There is a huge difference between being a leader, which is a noun, and leading, which is a verb.” Most people love having the title of Leader, but there’s a select few that love the action of leading. Leaders have people who follow them, and managers have people who work for them. Leaders develop strategy, are serving rather than dictating, and embrace change. This is not to say that Managers cannot become Leaders – a lot of Managers just need the best training.

Being clear to the future leader what the actions of a Leader can involve can help the employee determine whether that is what they really want. Otherwise you set yourself up for what Darren Hardy calls a Producing Manager. We’ve all been around them. Producing Managers spend time in operational details, rather than developing a plan for execution. They jump in and take on tasks, rather than taking the time to train and develop their team to take on the tasks without them. They reserve decision-making authority, rather than empowering their team to do the right thing. They complain often about having no time to train anyone, because they are so entrenched in the day to day tasks. Most of the time, these Managers (not Leaders) don’t see that their actions are perpetuating this cycle.

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

Once someone has been identified as a future leader, hopefully far before they are needed in that capacity, we recommend that their leadership development begins. Enroll them in a leadership development course taught by a third party, so they can share ideas and knowledge with the company. Hire a coach to help them work through leadership behaviors even before they have a team of their own so they can be aware of their own opportunities.

What’s the benefit of training leaders before they’re even leading? Preparation is key in any business. If this person is identified, vetted, and trained prior to their position, then if something is wrong, you can take action to correct it. The Business Owner can get to know their strengths as a leader and be sure that they are on the right seat on the bus. Most importantly, when it’s time, that employee has a great buy-in to the company philosophies and can be an evangelist to their team.

ONGOING LEADERSHIP EDUCATION

Just as you would have to renew professional licenses, renewing your leadership education is just as critical. Leadership development training is not a one-and-done proposition. We recommend that leaders receive ongoing training and coaching – not just because we provide these services, but because leaders need to grow and change as your business grows and changes. Did that person gain or lose a key team member? Their style may need to change with their replacement. Is the business growing (we hope!)? The Leader’s job responsibilities, scope, and more may have to change. Along with all of these changes, good and bad, the mindset and abilities of the leader need to grow along with it.

Training leaders is an investment in your business that cannot be overlooked. This investment almost always pays for itself multiple times over, and will result in a happier, more cohesive team. The Leaders will not be stressed, overworked, and frustrated with the tools that they need.

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Need help developing a leadership training plan? Are you looking for leadership training for your emerging leaders? Does your current leadership team need to gain some practical knowledge? We can help. Contact us today for your no-cost, no-obligation leadership and business analysis today.

About the author,

Director of Marketing, ActionCOACH Columbus

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