Every office has leaders. The real question isn’t whether or not they exist, instead ask do employers actually take the time to identify them or, at the minimum, commit resources to develop employees into leaders?
Unfortunately, the answer appears to be “No, they don’t.” A survey conducted by the Associated Financial Group found that out of 300 human resource professionals or executives, only 5 percent said the most effective team they ever worked with was one that existed at their former employer.
Only 5 percent!
And even worse, only 2 percent said the best team they’ve ever worked with was at their current company. Most cited sports teams they used to play on or public service organizations they were part of when they were younger.
These numbers should frighten employers because effective teams can only help a company improve its bottom line.
The researchers also asked respondents why they didn’t mention a team they worked with at their current company. Their three reasons were:
- Employers aren’t teaching managers and supervisors how important it is to be a “coach” and not just a manager or disciplinarian. That means many managers are doers, but they’re not teachers. These professionals aren’t passing down their knowledge to less experienced employees, and they’re not taking the time to help them develop into better workers.
- Many organizations don’t have the resources to train their managerial teams on why it’s critical they develop effective teams at work. The study also noted economic factors as a chief reason.
- Simply put, many organizations just haven’t recognized how crucial it is that they create strong team environments.
If you want to identify leaders in your own workplace, the first step is to simply convince upper management how important it is to have strong teams and leaders. Regrettably, this may be difficult to do based on the research we’ve mentioned, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible.
Create a report explaining to C-Suite executives why they need to invest their time and money in developing or identifying company leaders and forming teams around them.
When they ask how you plan to find these leaders, suggest the following:
1. Look at the big picture
Numbers are only part of the picture. While a particular sales person can close out the most sales in your department, that doesn’t necessarily make that individual a great leader. Leaders have other qualities that encourage colleagues to follow their lead. These characteristics ultimately depend on the job, but some could include their desire and ability to teach others, willingness to grow and develop their skills, and their aptitude at communicating in high stress situations.
2. Examine their level of engagement
Leaders are seemingly always engaged. They find joy in their work, and they’re passionate about doing their jobs well. Highly engaged employees aren’t necessarily the most outgoing (which doesn’t always matter), but they are hard workers, which means they’ll expect the same level of commitment out of those around them.
3. Locate your company’s brand ambassadors
Brand ambassadors exhibit the same traits we described in our second point, but these employees also do one more thing: They’re the most probable to be your business’s greatest champions. They believe in the company’s mission, and they love what they do, and therefore they’re likely to try to help others find passion in their work.
4. Search for those who always step up
Leaders aren’t passive. They’re go-getters, and they’re the first to offer help to managers or colleagues. This kind of attitude is likely to inspire fellow colleagues.
5. Find people who love to learn
Leaders don’t know everything, and they understand that, which is why they’re constantly trying to become more educated professionals by taking part in internal and external training opportunities. These employees are likely to have more than one degree – although it’s not necessary – and they almost always complete company-sponsored education courses.
6. They don’t accept failure
Leaders are well-balanced individuals, meaning that they don’t like to fail, but they also understand that losing to a colleague in a game of checkers isn’t the end of the world.
Leaders who are able to relate to their team members, at least on some level, may have a greater chance of retaining their services.
Companies that set aside the time and money to identify and develop leaders will likely reap the rewards of greater productivity and efficiency and an improved bottom line.
MasteryTCN has 50 courses covering topics to help develop better leaders, to browse the selection of leadership courses, click here. For MasteryTCN’s full course catalog click here. If you are an employer looking to train your workforce, see if your current HR Cloud Service provider offers MasteryTCN courses or get a referral from us here.