Friday, January 16, 2015

Is It Possible to Teach Leadership Skills to Employees?

Tricky question, but you have a lot to gain by trying answer it. Leadership of course is not supervision, but the two definitely overlap. Some people are born leaders. You've seen these charismatic folks from time time. But any employee can learn leadership skills, and you have a lot to gain if you test the waters to see which one of your employees grasps these concepts easily. Leadership skills vary widely, so try to fit experiences to the right positions. Lower-level employees don’t need to learn financial spreadsheet analysis, of course, but organizing a work team and then encouraging and leading it might be ideal for them. Leadership skills empower employees to be more effective on the job and in their personal lives. Learning such skills grows a mindset as much as it does the skills. The payoffs are employees who are proactive, forward-thinking, and solution-focused. Develop employees by helping them choose work goals, stay on task, mark their own progress, and pursue their goals to completion. Engage them with feedback, both positive and negative. Help them celebrate accomplishments and share the credit with others who make contributions. Teach employees, even lower-level employees who often aren’t made aware of their specific and important contributions to a large organizational mission, to have a vision of what they can accomplish in their unique roles. You never know when one of them may suddenly need to move the ladder to a higher position. We recommend reading “Millennials into Leadership (2011).”