Learning how to be a good leader is tricky business. Identifying and grooming others to fill leadership positions can be even more challenging. As the CEO of your company, you have employees who look to you for guidance. As they do, don’t miss this opportunity to consider who on your team is capable of growing into a leadership role. As you shift personnel around, you will want to be careful not to upset the balance of your business’ workflow. To keep every process running smoothly while searching for leaders within your organization, I suggest you look for ways to challenge your employees by testing their leadership skills.
There are members of your team who have the ability to be your businesses next great innovators, but they might not be aware of it yet or understand their own potential. Developing a leadership program by abandoning a fixed structure for management could be the big improvement your business needs. Over 70 percent of businesses said that their current leaders are not prepared to lead their organizations in the future, so what if someone among your team is the right person for the job? Access the full potential of your employees by testing them.
Present a problem
Problem-solving is a must for any position. The first thing you’ll want to assess is your employee’s ability to solve a problem. This can even start as a group exercise where you place employees on different teams and ask them to compete with the other groups to complete a project. From there, take note of which team members are solving the problem in a way that satisfies the needs of your business and needs of your customers if the task calls for it. Who is bringing the group together? Who is everyone looking to when an obstacle arises? Exercises like these can uncover hidden talents that your employees weren’t aware they possess.
Give them a team
As your employees begin to solve the problem you’ve given them and you get a sense of who is leading the pack, provide this standout with a team of people for them to direct. Being a leader means you’re prepared to strategically organize your employees, so when you’re testing the leadership skills of others you’ll want to see the same kind of organizational ability. Ask frequent questions about their decisions, too, like “What’s your reasoning for placing this person here?” and “Why did you give them that direction?” Trust me, it will make them focus and think about each move they make. Even if it doesn’t work out for them as a leader, this exercise will shape them into a stronger person and a more passionate employee.
Let them struggle
Now, I know this seems a little like tough-love, and that’s because it is. Employees come to you or to a manager when an issue arises, but what if you gave them a chance to figure it out on their own? Instead of answering for them, give them the chance to find another way of getting the job done. If they become stuck and can’t move forward, then you’ll need to step in. This shows you how much responsibility an employee can handle and allows you to see how they deal with pressure. Taking on the role of the leader all of the time won’t give your team the opportunity to grow, but allowing for a little struggle shows them that leadership isn’t about answering to just one person all the time.
Have them lead you
Switch it up; give an employee a project to spearhead and tell them that you are there to support them. See what kinds of tasks they give you and what direction they provide when you need help. Ask frequent questions like “What’s your strategy?” and “Where can I help?” This causes the employee to think not only about completing the project but prepares them for answering short-term problems with long-term solutions. It also gives you insight into how well they manage others and utilize the resources at their disposal.
Rotating your leaders by testing employees’ abilities allows you to gain insight on work distribution and it is an excellent way to cross-train in the interim. Consider what this is doing for you as a leader, as well. What kinds of lessons can you take with you after an activity like this? How is rotating leadership strengthening your own approach to management? There is real, tangible value hidden in this exercise, and it’s waiting for you to reach out and grab it.
This article was originally posted on Business 2 Community. View it here.