People within your team are likely to have the knowledge and experience of your business. You just need to make sure they have the skills and confidence for such a position. To do this you need to inspire your employees to do more and be working towards these leadership roles so that they are ready to step in when the positions arise. These need to be people able to motivate and inspire others in the future to keep your company moving both on and up in time.
So, how do you inspire your team to aim for these leadership roles?
First things first, you should speak to your employees. Let them know that there are opportunities to be promoted and progress their career. If they don’t know there is a role to work towards then how can they start doing what is required of them? Perhaps set out the route that their careers could take.
Make sure you define these roles clearly so those interested know exactly what they need to be doing to make that next step. You also need to ensure that everyone is given an equal chance. You don’t want to demotivate any of your employees by suggesting that a promotion isn’t possible for them.
You may want to start promoting some members of the team to smaller leadership roles where they manage perhaps one or two others. This will start to give them the experience they need and offer more employees the opportunity to progress.
But, don’t forget about those members of the team that aren’t promoted into these roles. There are still ways to give them more responsibility, which will enable them to eventually progress up the career ladder.
Now employees know that there is the possibility of promotion and the job roles have been defined it is time to set clear goals. This could be a yearly target that staff have to achieve, for example. Checking in regularly like this will enable you to have an honest conversation with your employees. While they can let you know how they feel they are doing, you can let them know any areas for improvement. After all, how can you improve if you don’t know that you need to? Ensure any criticism is constructive and that you pull out their strengths at the same time. You don’t want to demotivate anyone.
You might find it is helpful to bring in a motivational speaker to inspire your team. While you can tell them how important it is to work hard and aim high you might not have the same impact as a motivational speaker would.Your staff will be far more receptive to an outsider – rather than the person who owns the business whose voice they might hear often. Take a look at Speakers Corner to discover who might best fit your company, be able to motivate your team with their story as well as bringing fresh ideas and perspectives.
Don’t just tell employees what they have to do to reach a leadership role. Let them have their say too. They may be able to make suggestions that you haven’t thought of. They are, of course, working in the roles already so are probably best placed to advise on how they might progress.Of course, they will have a chance to voice their opinion when you meet to discuss their goals. An open door policy or regular feedback will keep this conversation going and ideas flowing.
You can’t expect employees to work above and beyond their role on a promise that they might, potentially, one day be promoted to a leadership role. Of course, a promotion is an incentive to work hard. However, showing your appreciation that they are doing so right now, not just in the long run, is best.
Incentives will encourage your employees to work to the best of their ability and reward them for doing so. This could be in the form of the bonus, an extra day of a holiday, a fun day or a party. Whatever you think is best for your company and staff.
You can’t expect employees to progress without providing them with training to enable them to do so. This could be a yearly budget that they spend in a way they think will best benefit them, or it could be training days for the whole office.
It might even be specific leadership training for those already working towards this. Look into anything that will inspire your employees to feel more confident and comfortable in their role. In turn, they will hopefully produce better quality content for you.
Neil is co-founder and CEO of ten80. With a strong background in SAP, Neil has worked as an end user, a consultant and as a contractor. He set up ten80 to allow clients to access the best SAP resources worldwide, and save money in the process.
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