Tapping into employees' natural leadership abilities benefits your business.
It may be tempting to position yourself as the sole leader in your organization, and disseminate your leadership through willing managers. But you'd be missing out on the talent of natural leaders who can not only drive your company today, but lead it into the future.
Both leaders and managers are needed in any business, but they serve different purposes. "Leadership is an influence relationship," author Joseph C. Rost wrote, "and management is an authority relationship." In other words, managers have the prosaic purpose of planning, organizing and coordinating so that the work gets done. Leaders--no matter what their corporate rank--gather followers, whom they inspire, motivate and provide with practical knowledge that gives purpose to their work.
Your reward for developing leaders in your organization will be innovation, engagement and a cadre of energized individuals eager to tackle the challenges your company will face in the future.
Identify the Leaders
Your first task is to identify the employees who come up with new ideas to help the customer and organization alike, willingly share their expertise, continually develop and grow no matter what their position in the company and question commonplace assumptions. Some of these leaders may be suited to management roles--but many will be among your rank-and-file employees.
Find the opportunities to task these potential leaders with projects that allow them to develop while generating creative solutions to problems. You may want to start small when offering projects to challenge them and set them up for success. Here are a few ideas to bear in mind as you get started.
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