Companies thrive when their employees are able to take ownership of their actions and understand that they have a direct impact on the business’s success. However, some employees may not have the skills they need to become leaders, while others may lack the confidence or the feeling of support from their employers.
Empowering your employees to become leaders starts with you. To offer some guidance, 12 members of Young Entrepreneur Council offer advice on how you can cultivate a culture of leadership in your workplace and empower your employees to go above and beyond for themselves and the company.
Q: What’s one way a business leader can empower their own employees to become leaders? Why is this important?
1. Allow Them to Make Mistakes and Problem-Solve
Trust them enough to make their own mistakes. Just because you can step in to solve a problem, doesn’t mean you should. I have seen mistrust masquerade as perfectionism before. It’s important to see perfectionism for what it is: anxiety about the results. Once you ease up on the anxiety of the outcome, your employees will feel the trust and will be empowered to take action. – Kaitlyn Witman, Rainfactory
2. Delegate Responsibility and Authority
Don’t hoard authority and responsibility for yourself. As team members build trust, reward them with additional authority to make decisions, mentor new recruits, and build up teams within a team. In other words, encourage intrapreneurship. Trusted team members should be able to lead and initiate projects on their own with minimal supervision from the executive team. – Tyler Gallagher, Regal Assets
3. Have Them Participate in Networking Opportunities
Ultimately, strong leadership comes down to communication. Many employees lack the soft skills to thrive in a leadership role. That’s why I encourage employees to network as much as possible at industry-related conferences and events. People skills are virtually impossible to learn except by doing. Many employees have never been given the opportunity to network in a professional environment. – Mark Stallings, Casely, Inc
4. Give Them the Power to Educate Themselves and Others
Give your employees the room to design their own training and professional development plans. In growing and educating others — and establishing the structures to do so most effectively — employees will inevitably be challenged to reflect on their own development and, in the process, are more likely to evolve into the leaders they want to be. – Lindsay Tanne, LogicPrep
5. Lead by Example
Lead through vision and action. No one likes a dream without a plan. Show your team that your dream is alive by working on it daily. Let them know that they are part of your dream and that it can’t succeed without them. This fosters a culture of support that encourages them to work not just for themselves, but for the people around them too. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
6. Encourage Them to Take Initiative
Give greater autonomy to your subordinates. Focus more on letting them take ownership and commitment for decisions, and focus less on your own need to add value. Also, try to create a favorable environment in which new ideas are welcomed and people are able to expand their skill set. This will encourage employees to use their initiative and unleash their maximum potential. – Brian Pallas, Opportunity Network
7. Get Them Outside of Their Comfort Zones
Let them work outside their comfort zone. Have them do tasks that are most likely scary or unfamiliar. Allow them to see their other side and appreciate the process of discovering new things about themselves. Empowered leaders empower others. A grateful employee becomes a functional leader who will in return become loyal and copy your great example. – Daisy Jing, Banish
8. Refuse to Micromanage
Give your employees the freedom to create innovative ideas or processes on their own. Micromanaging only demoralizes, limits creativity, and frustrates workers, which is the opposite of cultivating leaders. At my business, we avoid micromanaging by using a careful hiring process. Because we’re confident in our hiring decisions, we trust our employees to be their own leaders. – Shu Saito, All Filters
9. Offer Regular Mentoring Sessions
We give our team members quarterly mentoring sessions where we help them refine their skills and identify areas that could use improvement. Over time, this approach allows us to give our employees the knowledge and confidence they need to thrive in our industry. – Chris Christoff, MonsterInsights
10. Allow Them to Excel with News Tasks
A leader can empower their employees by giving them more opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have access to. It speaks volumes when you take the time to acknowledge your team’s successes and reward them for it by giving them new tasks and projects that improve their skills and level of expertise. This gives them an opportunity to excel with the company and broaden their roles. – Stephanie Wells, Formidable Forms
11. Implement Employee Suggestions
Listen to employees’ suggestions and then explain why they are or aren’t good suggestions. Most importantly, allow employees to implement the valid suggestions and give them lead roles, if possible. People want to be heard and know that good suggestions will be valued. – Zane Stevens, Protea Financial
12. Give Them Access to the Right Tools
If you want to turn your team members into leaders, you have to give them the resources they need to grow. We provide our team with lifetime access to our tools while they are with our company. I believe that the insights and experience they gain from having access to the right tools help promote their success as leaders. – John Turner, SeedProd LLC
These answers are provided by Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world’s most successful young entrepreneurs. YEC members represent nearly every industry, generate billions of dollars in revenue each year, and have created tens of thousands of jobs. Learn more at yec.co.