How do you encourage your employees to be leaders?

April 15, 2011

group projectTwo jobs ago, I was assigned to a small planning group to work on a project. My coworkers had plenty of good ideas, but were firing them haphazardly. Hyper-organizer that I am, I took control of the group, and we were able to turn in a color-coded, detailed presentation to our supervisor. She commented that she had never seen my leadership skills before. (And I think she was impressed by the color coding.)

What had been my motivation? Coming up with an organized plan that hopefully offered a solution to a problem we were having in our office. As a manager or business owner, there are things you can do to encourage this stepping up of an employee to be a leader. In fact, Dale Carnegie Training’s Knowledge Center offers several tips for that very situation, at least two of which were present in my situation: issuing a challenge and encouraging employees to come up with their own solution.

Here is the list of tips:

– Issue a challenge. Some people need a challenge or deadline to motivate them. It also creates a measurable goal they can work toward achieving.

– Appeal to their noble motives. This will reach the employees that think their work doesn’t make a difference. This also gives you the opportunity to set higher standards for your employees.

– Be sympathetic. Don’t tell them they are wrong, even if you disagree. Listen to another person’s ideas.

– Have evidence. Back up your ideas with proof, which gives credibility to your ideas. Even if your staffers disagree, with supporting evidence, there’s a greater chance they’ll take notice of your ideas.

– Listen. Listen — actually listen, don’t just wait to speak — to what your employees have to say.

– And, ask questions. Instead of giving orders to your employees, ask them questions to get them to think about an issue — and come up with their own solutions.

– Value your employees. Make them feel important and necessary to the company’s survival.

What do you think? Have you had success motivating your employees to be leaders?

This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Central Indiana, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Indiana. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

Image courtesy of terriem via Flickr
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