Developing Leaders From Within Your Organization

We’ve all heard the age-old business advice that it is “more efficient to keep a current customer than to find a new one.” I believe this wisdom can also be applied internally to employees. Specifically, it’s more effective to groom a member of your team to be a leader than it is to go out and find a leader externally who is a good fit for your organization.

Of course, “making” a leader is still easier said than done. Not everyone is meant to lead, and internal employees tend to carry all of the baggage that comes with working your way up in an organization. However, I still believe that a leader that knows your processes and has been part of your culture is a good bet. Here are a few tips for developing leaders within your current team.

  1. It Starts With Training
    People struggle to learn new things if there isn’t a system in place to help them do so. Instead of throwing new employees into the deep end, spend the time to create a system for onboarding and training workers. Then create more systems for training someone who is moving into each job in your company. The key word here is “system.” Instead of relying on employees to simply train each other, or your one superstar trainer to teach everybody, create a process that can be referenced and carried out no matter who is involved.  
  2. Create A Culture Of Improvement
    Encourage your team to want to get better at their jobs. Give them reasons to take part in professional development. Show them the benefits of educating themselves and trying new things. If you are large enough, you should even document the process that someone takes to attain promotions and gain leadership positions. This gives motived workers a roadmap that they can follow, and that is very important to many overachievers (the exact folks who you want in charge).
  3. Recognize Success
    Make a big deal out of good work. Tell the world when somebody is promoted. Share the success stories that your company is part of. By showing your team that good things happen when they work hard, they are more likely to work hard. It seems obvious, but managers often get so caught up in the day-to-day operations of their company that they forget to celebrate the wins – even small ones. If people see success recognized, they will want to be a bigger part of it.
  4. Provide Support Rather Than Micromanagement
    You will never develop a leader by constantly looking over their shoulder. Give good employees responsibility and then trust them to do the right thing. If they make a mistake, show them how to do it better next time and let them know that nobody is perfect. The point of developing a leader is for them to make decisions on their own (so you don’t have to make them all yourself). Start training your people to be decision makers as early in their career as you can. People with a strong vision who aren’t afraid to do what it takes to achieve it are the very best kind of leaders.

So there you have it. It may not be easy, but it is important. Without strong leaders, success becomes a struggle. Want to chat about leadership? Get in touch and let’s talk about opportunities within your own team.

About The Author

Greg “Hal” Halliday is Anchor’s managing partner and also serves as an account manager, putting 25 years of sales and marketing experience to work for Anchor’s clients. Originally from a small town in southeast Minnesota, Hal is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, Duluth with a degree in business and an emphasis in marketing. He also serves as the president of the Highway 2 West Manufacturer’s Association.