Many are born with the talent of leadership. But even with a natural gifting, training and development has to take place in order to become successful. Many will find that training will come in school, life experience, or their career. As a small business owner, it is your job to identify who to invest in when it comes to leadership in your organization. It is crucial to keep in mind that if you do not invest in your leaders, someone else will. For this reason, leadership training should be something that is a part of your company’s culture. When you develop your leaders, they will feel valued, work harder, and remain loyal.

How can your company emphasize leadership training?

Acknowledge the difference between management and leadership.

The first place to search for good leaders is during an initial interview. If the candidate is more focused on declaring and maintaining tasks, that may be an indication they are not a good leader. While delegating, assigning tasks and making sure those jobs are carried out is a part of being a leader, it shouldn’t be the main priority. In a sense, a good leader works for their workers. They invest in them. They encourage them. They set them up for success.

A good leader works for their workers. They invest in them. They encourage them. They set them up for success. 

How do you invest in your employees?

Encourage them to take courses associated with their job function. Or, encourage them to take courses associated with the job they are working towards. This shows them that you are committed to them for the long haul. A good company will also go above and beyond in offering tuition reimbursement programs or paying for certifications.

How do you encourage them?

Praise their accomplishments. Thank them publicly during staff meetings. Offer incentives like taking them out to lunch or treating them to coffee if they supersede an expectation on a project.

How do you set them up for success?

Deadlines have to be realistic. Offer the appropriate resources for them to get the job done. Listen to their needs and requests. There will be times when circumstances require more than expected. But when you invest and encourage, you will find that your employee will do their best to meet those needs to the best of their ability.

Train to be replaced.

If you died tomorrow, would there be someone that can immediately fill your shoes and keep your business afloat? An effective leader grooms others to be better than them. This may seem scary. Nobody wants to feel replaceable. But the reality is, we can’t do it all. Things happen in life. Your business has to surpass you.

How do you train for replacement?

In order to groom that leader to be a better you, teach them how your business is run. They need to know the behind the scenes of how everything works. Help them realize not just the “why” of your organization, not just the “what”.

How do you ensure they stay?

The oldest book in history, the bible, demonstrates a perfect example of how transferring too much power can cause division. God gave Lucifer so much power, he felt he could do better and left, taking a third of the angels with him. So who’s to say that won’t happen within your own organization? With everything in life, there are risks.

But there is a way to avoid the worst case scenario. Avoid leading by fear. Fear cripples your employees, causing them to doubt themselves. They won’t do their best. You’ll find that fear causes people to go into survival mode. And they will remain there in your organization until they find a way out. Instead, continue to invest, encourage and set your employees up to succeed. In believing they are appreciated, respected and supported, your employees will move mountains for you!