To encourage your team to reach its full potential and to become the best role model you can be, fostering leadership in the workplace is crucial. Here are some ways to do that:
1. Mentoring – Mentor & guide your peers, colleagues, workforce to shape them into the future leaders of your company.
2. Recognize accomplishments – We need to give credit where it’s due. It’s not about the “I” but it’s all about the “WE”.
3. Invest in your team – Keep Learning, Keep upgrading, Keep nurturing yourself and your team. The training programs improves the skill-sets.
4. Offer feedback – Positive Feedback should always be in front of all and a constructive one should be within closed doors. Always keep the feedback consistent and constructive.
5. Provide a positive environment – Negativity in the workplace, kills creativity & morale while positivity improves the productivity and the overall morale.
6. Know when to ask questions – Most of us are asked questions by the team and almost all the time we like to be in control and answer something even if we do not have the correct answer. We need to admit when we don’t have the answers and a polite message that “I shall come back to you on this” would not hurt.
Lets us understand each aspect in a little more detail:
A. Be A Mentor – We all had someone who we looked up while growing up; like for me it was my dad. He was my ideal role model and my first mentor at learnings for Life. Maybe it was your father too, 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. That is what Role models do. Mind you I am only talking about positive one’s here as many of us end up also following a role model who might not be right for us so chose your role model wisely. Believe it or not, role models don’t just disappear after you grow up or attain adulthood. Well, at least they shouldn’t. If you want to foster leadership at your workplace and retain employees for the long-run, be a mentor to your people like someone has been to you. Being a mentor to your team helps build your workforce into the future leaders of your company. I always have believed in the fact that till I do not find someone to replace my position, I will never grow. You grow because your team grows and with them. If you are the only one growing, then this is something that will never last long. Without a strong team with a solid foundation, your structure can quickly crumble. So, you’re probably wondering, what can I do to mentor my team? Great question! To start with towards becoming an all-star mentor and fostering leadership in the workplace, you can:
a. Listen to your people and team
b. Check-in with everyone on your team on a regular basis
c. Allow people to learn from their mistakes
d. Delegate out tasks
B. Recognize Accomplishments – If you want to lead a productive team and grow them into leaders, you have to show them that you care and appreciate a job well done. And to do that, you have to recognize accomplishments and give them the recognition they deserve.
C. 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. To unleash the full potential of your team, you have to invest in them in areas of Training, nurturing, advising, etc. Building them into the future leaders at your workplace starts with improving their skills and helping them gain more knowledge. The more your employees learn, the more they would reciprocate by using that at the workplace which will be better for your productivity. Regular support like executive coaching, conferences, and workshops would help you and your team expand their skill sets and horizon which ultimately only help you achieve your goals faster.
D. Offer Consistent And Constructive Feedback – You should always offer feedback on your team’s approach and work done. The golden thumb rule is that positive feedback should be infant of the team which encourages the person to do more and helps him set a high morale while any constructive feedback should always be behind closed doors which lets the person get the confidence that this is discreet and you are there to support him in learning and becoming better at that part. Also we need to ensure that the feedback given should be to the point, consistent and constructive. It should be clear to the person on where he has done well and what he needs to improve on to become better. Constructive criticism makes people think, its going to be harsh but I always have believed it can be very helpful if imparted in the right way. Also being a leader of the team means that you also should be open to a constructive feedback, positive or negative and should take it up accordingly to improve yourself skills. No one is perfect and we all make mistakes. The person who comes up stronger is the one who learns from it and grows. So when meeting with your team members, don’t be afraid to ask, What can I do to improve and be a better leader? Set out time weekly to sit with your team on this and discuss. It will help you and the team grow together.
E. Build A Positive Work Environment – No one is a fan of working in negative work environments or in places where the creativity and enthusiasm gets killed. If you want to foster leadership in the workplace, create a positive and productive work environment. Positive workplaces not only give your team and company a boost, but can also improve productivity and employee morale. If you want your employees to become the future leaders, give them space and a workplace where they can shine, feel at home, and share innovative ideas. A workplace needs to be open, trusting, and fun to be successful. If you try to incorporate more fun into the workplace, you’ll see a spike in productivity. Here are a few things that you can do to create a positive work environment:
i. Listen to everyone’s ideas
ii. Celebrate small and big wins
iii. Decorate the office during special occasions
iv. Bring in treats on special occasions or on small-small wins, b’days etc
v. Share your gratitude
vi. Do random acts of kindness
vii. Encourage others to think positively
F. Know When To Ask Questions – You live and you learn, am I right? For me learning is an ongoing process from the time I started understanding and till I die, I will be on a knowledge seek rollercoaster everyday. I believe in the motto of Learning something new everyday to keep my knowledge in check and myself active mentally. At the same time learning from your mistakes is the key to your growth. 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! Even as a leader there will be times when 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. If you don’t know the answer, then ask your team as they might have one. 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. Remember 10 heads thinking together is more productive than one head and so one of them might have the answer you are seeking. I also feel that when I seek help from my team, I benefit by getting the answers I need and in turn learning something new. So it’s important not only to ask the right questions but at the tight time and be open to listen to the answers and accept.
Therefore I believe that Fostering Leadership or incubating future leaders is one of the most important behavioural traits of a successful and good leader. Leaders who only think about themselves and want to only grow alone do not last long in any culture or organisation. The “I” needs to get replaced by “We” and so and so forth. Creating future leaders not only helps the organisation grow but also helps to create a positive work environment and keeps the workforce motivated and we all know what can a motivated workforce achieve.