Five Ways to Encourage Your Employees to Lead

Hedley Lawson | Board Member & Advisor

Leadership is about more than the most senior person at the top of the business or an operating unit. It is more about how you focus on helping all of your employees to take on leadership roles.

It stands to reason that today’s businesses need leaders who focuses on charting the course for the business, but it also stands to reason that the business must have leaders to assume and assist with the accountability associated with success. Some of today’s most effective businesses encourage every one of their employees to take on leadership roles in their organizations. When employees become leaders, decisions are made more quickly, customers are happier, and time, energy and money can be saved. Here’s how.

1. Promote Teamwork across the Organization

Eliminate silo thinking by building cross-functional teams that cut across departmental boundaries to take full advantage of the ideas and expertise of all of your people. When you assign employees to these teams, encourage them to take on both formal and informal leadership roles, and recognize and, when appropriate, reward them when they do so. This practice will also lead to improved communication throughout your company, greater ability to capitalize on opportunities, and better solutions to very difficult problems.

2. Be Transparent With Information

Leaders, no matter what their position in the company, need a steady stream of information about their business, customers and markets to make good decisions. Instead of withholding information from your people, be free and transparent with it. This will give employees the information they need to confidently step into leadership roles and in succession, taking responsibility for achieving the goals of your organization.

3. Empower Employees in Decision-making

It is one thing to talk about employee empowerment, but it is an entirely different thing to actively demonstrate employee empowerment. By giving employees in your organization decision-making authority, including such things as determining what products will be designed and sold to customers, creating work schedules, and even hiring, you will open up the desire on the part of employees to lead. While not every employee will seek a leadership role, you may be surprised by how many do and the results that they create for your business.

4. Be Passionate About Your Mission

Passion gives employees a compelling reason to undertake ambitious responsibilities and to step up to challenges as they occur. Create a strong sense of mission in your company and ensure it is reflected in your business culture. Then seek out and hire people who resonate with and are excited by it, and provide ways for them to participate in this mission in every way they can.

5. Create Role Clarity

When employees are uncertain about what their roles are or what expectations you have for them, they are less likely to take the risk of stepping into positions of leadership. Creating clear roles is an essential precondition for employees who want to lead, so be sure to give them the firm footing they want and need by clearly spelling out their jobs and your expectations.The most effective businesses today encourage every employee to take on leadership roles. Not only will this take some burden off of your shoulders, but your employees will happier, more engaged and effective in your business, and will fulfill the often used phrase “Employees are our most important asset.”

Hedley Lawson
Board Member & Advisor | former Global Managing Partner
Aligned Growth Partners, LLC

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