You have a star employee who always comes to work on time and produces quality work.  You quickly advance them into a leadership position. You’d expect your star to keep shining, right? Sometimes, the exact opposite happens. Once a stellar team member is unable to handle the new position and is at risk for leaving, the problem becomes a work culture and leadership issue. The cause? You did not ditch the manager concept and develop strong leaders.

This employee wasn’t first developed into a leader before being thrown into a management position. Proper training and developing good coaching and facilitation methods along with other leadership tools to manage your department’s tracking and monitoring are essential to both business growth and to develop leaders.  It goes a long way in turning a tragedy into a success.

Along with offering training, executives can engage in other leadership development strategies to grow their top performers and develop true leaders. By ditching the manager sink or swim mentality to develop strong leaders, both your work culture and team dynamics improve.

Four strategies that develop strong leaders

The following leadership development strategies help executives foster a growth culture while developing strong team members into leaders.

Understand the difference.

Leaders and managers are often synonymous in business, but they are not the same thing. Managers are people who are able to inspire others to action, connect with people, are good with resolving conflict, give clear directions and have people who want to work for them. Leaders, on the other hand, are people who aren’t afraid to look down the road ahead and change direction, even if it means going against others or the status quo. These people may or may not have others in their corner, but they move ahead nonetheless because they feel that it’s the right thing to do. To foster and develop strong  leaders, give your employees free reign to chase their passions, disrupt the status quo and try something different. Teach them how to problem solve, facilitate consensus and correct mistakes at the root cause so the organization as a whole continues to learn and improve.  When your leaders are allowed to shine, make and correct mistakes others will follow.

Offer feedback – a lot.

Developing your team members into leaders requires feedback, and a lot of it. When managers do not approach their team members effectively, they are left with disengaged and uninspired employees who feel that they are receiving unclear instructions, infrequent feedback and unfair evaluations. To improve engagement levels and properly develop strong leaders, executives must:

  • Establish expectations,
  • Coach regularly and create accountability.

Leaders who work directly with their employees to set clear goals and markers; provide meaningful feedback at least once a week; conduct ongoing progress reviews as they happen; and blend individualized development with performance measurement, discover that their entire work team measurably improves. When employees receive regular and meaningful feedback, they are more likely to be engaged in their work and accountable to their leaders and organizations.

Mentor employees.

Formal mentoring programs can work out well for some individuals, but many employees get the most out of a mentorship when it develops organically and happens spontaneously.  In order to develop leaders, employees need someone to look up to and model after. This happens when leaders and employees create real and genuine relationships with one another. Annual or even monthly performance reviews have their place, but more likely than not, employees are going to remember the unscheduled times that their mentors took the time to talk with them. As a result, employees feel more valued and important for the success of their organizations. This leads to better engagement, happier employees and less turnover, which is beneficial for both employees and their organizations.

Don’t skip generations.

Millennials seem to be getting a lot of the attention from leaders, but Gen Xers are also primed for leadership positions. Generation X, those born between 1961 and 1981,  have the experience necessary to assume top leadership positions. However, many are not reaching for it. Instead, they are searching for work-life balance and are content with their current roles. To best develop leaders, executives need to recognize this and pay attention to this seemingly lost generation. Develop one-on-one relationships, get to know them on a personal level and determine what is keeping them from advancing to higher roles within the company. With personalized feedback and mentoring, this lost generation can be found and developed into strong leaders. it all boils down to proper training and leadership team development.

Genuine and successful leaders are an executive’s dream-come-true.  To find these great candidates, leaders must take the time to invest in and train their employees to develop strong leaders. Effective training programs go far in developing great leaders, and there are other team building strategies that leaders can implement to build a winning team. Some strategies include: knowing the difference between managers and leaders; offering consistent and regular feedback; mentoring your employees, in both formal and informal settings; and paying attention to all generations of workers within your company. With these strategies, leaders can develop great team members into strong leaders.

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Copyright, TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton

About TIGERS Success Series, Inc.

TIGERS® Success Series provides a comprehensive and robust system for improving both your work environment and profitability.  We specialize in workplace enrichment and employee re-invigoration management facilitation methods that builds workforce cooperation and high performance team dynamics. Scaled to grow as your organization and leadership performance grows, our proprietary Team Behavior Profile and  leadership training workshops are based on the six principles we have found to be the right mix to make this happen. The six principles are Trust, Interdependence, Genuineness, Empathy, Risk and Success. Born from our many years of business, psychology, and educational group dynamic research, and subsequent four years of independent evaluation, we instill and sustain behaviors that improve work group performance and talent retention for measurable ROI. Since 1987, TIGERS has served committed leaders who desire enhanced cooperation among departments, teams, managers and individual employees. This heightened level of cooperation leads to improved revenue, purpose, commitment and impact. Employees quit companies because they don’t get along with leaders and co-workers. Work culture refinement and behaviors that build strong relationships erase this trend remarkably fast.  For more information call 1+541-385-7465 or visit .