The best leaders for your company will come from within, and there’s a better, more cost-effective way of developing their talent other than pricey leadership workshops. Learning how to be a leader on the job is far superior training compared to taking classes. Not only will they better retain what they learn, but the lessons will be catered to the unique situations that often occur in your industry.
Leadership development experts Morgan McCall and David Day found that 70 percent of development comes from challenges experienced on the job, such as creating new processes, handling a difficult customer, or stepping into a new role. Only 20 percent comes from managerial support, and a mere 10 percent comes from training courses or other structured learning.
But developing talent within your company doesn’t happen without any effort. If you follow these tips, you can organically cultivate the next generation of MVPs in your company.
Develop more people
Choosing to only develop one or two people is the same mistake as putting all your eggs in one basket. You could spend a lot of time developing one person, only to have them move across the country or take a different job. When given the chance, there could be someone who surprises you. Or, the person you thought really had good leadership qualities could turn out to be a tyrant. Mistakes in judgment happen.
It’s better to adopt the mindset of developing everyone, at any time. When the opportunity to broaden someone’s skill set comes up, take advantage of it. As your company grows, you will need a large number of well-rounded team members to train others and provide a firm foundation. You’ll be glad you invested in a larger number of people.
A good way of testing decision-making abilities, or project and time management of your employees is to increase their responsibilities. You’ll never really know what they’re capable of unless you give them the opportunity to show you. By giving your employees the tools to develop their decision-making authority, you’re grooming future leaders in your company.
The key to increasing responsibilities is to delegate. Many managers have a hard time learning to delegate, even when they have too much on their plate. Often times business owners don’t have or don’t want to take the time to train employees to take on new tasks. Taking this important step can really free up your time, allowing you to spend it on more important challenges.
Leverage your meetings to develop your talent
Meetings can be used to develop people in a number of ways. One way is to bring team members to important meetings with customers, brokers, or other stakeholders. This gives them a view of the bigger picture, which they can then share with other team members or use to lead with it.
In your own meetings with employees, you can also take more time to open floor and hear their ideas. Rotate assigning different people as note taker, timekeeper. Eventually, you can have some of your veteran employees try running a meeting.
Use Peer-to-peer training
Peer-to-peer training isn’t just cheap, it’s also one of the most effective training methods. Take advantage of the veterans you have on your team and encourage them to share their knowledge or mentor others. You’d think with Google’s budget, they’d use the most elaborate and costly training programs out there, but their approach is much more simple. As Laszlo Bock has explained, the company uses for peer-to-peer training as their primary method, where the highest performers guide and teach other employees looking to improve. Perhaps they’ve read the studies that show the effectiveness of peer-to-peer training compared to traditional training.
Your employees are your greatest asset, and the key to building great talent and leadership in your company is to start by developing them internally, every day. You’ll build a well-rounded team capable of taking on greater challenges.