12 Ways to Build Leaders in Your Organization

Good employees are always looking to develop their skills. And since current employees are already familiar with your organization’s team makeup, tasks, company culture and procedures, it makes far more sense to promote from within. After all, they’ve already invested in you and your business.

But how do you get them started on the path, and how do you build them up once they start taking on responsibilities? Here’s what members of the Young Entrepreneur Council suggest you focus on:

1. Pay Attention to Candidates’ Leadership Traits During the Interview Phase 

Your company’s best resource and opportunity for success is your team. From the very first interview with a potential candidate, ask yourself: “Could this person inspire the existing team and train new members?” If you build a team with this mentality, you are stacking your deck with team players and leaders. Cultivating leadership within your company should not be an afterthought. – Meghan LarsonAdistry

2. Don’t Micromanage 

I’ve realized that the best way to create leaders is to step back and let them manage themselves. Give people the tools they need, be there to answer questions and help, but ultimately let them grow by not micromanaging their every move. – Syed BalkhiOptinMonster

3. Lead From the Front 

It’s a lost art, but you should lead by example or otherwise lead from the front. People are much more likely to respect what you ask them to do if you’re willing to do it yourself. Make an effort to allow them to take the lead on small projects or oversee smaller teams initially to see how it feels so they can get comfortable with the position. – Andy KaruzaFenSens

4. Give Them Ownership Over a Project, From Start to Finish 

I find the more responsibility I give my employees, the more I see leadership qualities emerge. Giving them ownership of an important project from beginning to end shows me who is best suited for a management role. It also helps teach important lessons in leadership and management before an official role is taken on. – Leila LewisBe Inspired PR

5. Teach Them a Concrete Methodology 

It’s incredibly helpful for young managers to have lots of templates to follow. Luckily, most entrepreneurs have read enough business books to have lots of mental resources available. We run our business on the book, Traction. There are a dozen others just like it, so it’s less important which you choose, but it gives your junior people a template for understanding goal-setting for employees. – John RoodNext Step Test Preparation

6. Regularly Put the Spotlight on Staff 

We recently implemented new show-and-tell sessions. Once a week, one of our team members takes center stage to share what they’re working on, a great book they recently read or a new process they’ve developed. Beyond the obvious benefits to our public speaking skills, it also gives everybody a regular opportunity to consider how they can best contribute to our success as a team. – John ScheerHerman-Scheer

7. Include Employees on Internal Strategy Meetings 

I believe that, given the knowledge and resources, any individual can become a leader in their respective role. At my startup, I often include interns and new employees on kool-aide strategy meetings to give them a lay-of-the land and an understanding of leadership roles in our company. With greater understanding, these employees are scaled into positions of greater personal accountability. – Kristopher JonesLSEO.com

8. Increase Responsibility Over Time 

I determine when and where I can add more responsibility that helps those on the team to develop. It involves observation and regular discussions with each team member to see who is ready and willing to take on more. Adding to the responsibility is integral to becoming a leader and having to make critical decisions. – Drew HendricksButtercup

9. Establish Highly Specialized Micro-Teams

I surround myself with employees who are ultimately better than me, so everyone in my team leads a smaller team, and said team includes people better than them. This practice has diminished competition, since everyone brings a specialty to their respective micro-team, and they give more to each other than they expect for themselves. – Cody McLainSupportNinja

10. Hold One-On-One Meetings to Find Out What’s Working 

Leaders in an organization need to actively communicate with each other and their teams to discover what’s working. We’ve set up the best practice of having leaders separately sit down with their managers and direct reports bi-weekly to discuss recent achievements and advice. A conversation from both directions gives leaders opportunities to get feedback and to implement it, week over week. – David CiccarelliVoices.com

11. Let Staff Know You See Their Potential 

When I know that an employee within my organization has the potential for leadership, it’s important to me to let them know. I want us to work together to build the skills that they need to build, and I want them to know exactly where I see them going within my company. That way, we have a goal in common that we’re striving for. – Kevin ConnerBroadbandSearch

12. Regularly Push People to Grow 

I try to create leadership roles with all big projects and to push those who I think are ready to stretch their wings with some responsibility. It’s true that they don’t always think they’re as ready as I do, but it’s always thrilling when they do rise to the occasion. You have to push people to push their limits, so do it as often as possible. – Matt DoyleExcel Builders

The answers above are provided by members of Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched BusinessCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.

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