Regardless of any business type or job position, leadership skills are valuable points that help you scale up in your career and rise into the leadership role. In today’s tough competition, smart organisations and employees understand the significance of leadership qualities for business sustainability and survival. While we know that leadership skills can be taught and learned, can leadership skills actually be transferred?
Fostering leadership might take some time, therefore it takes dedication and commitment from both the employers and employees to make it happen. Encouraging a culture of leadership is essential to ensure that the leadership milestones within an organisation do not stop when senior leaders retire and leave the company.
More than this, an organisation should sketch out a plan and strategy to prepare their future leaders before letting the next generation step up and take over the rein. Senior leaders should be able to ‘hand-over’ their leadership skills to their juniors, such that the younger employees can learn directly from them about how to be an effective leader.
However the question remains, how can leadership skills be actually transferred from one to another, when some believe it’s an ingrained quality or a personality trait? While we do not defy arguments, that some leadership skills can never be transferred or even performed right by the next assignee to the leadership throne, hence here comes the need to transfer such skills, when these are not taught in B-school academic programs and leadership workshops.
Below are some ways, we can guide you through to ensure seamless transfer of leadership skills, before you as a leader now choose to retire, jump ship or chart a new course of life:
Pick and choose the next assignee to the leadership cadre carefully
If anything, leadership is a funny thing. There is no exact formula that will guarantee someone’s successful leadership in the future, let alone predicting the impacts they will bring. However, you can still help prepare the younger generations to be an effective leader by transferring the leadership skills.
It is imperative for managers to carefully pick and choose employees who will be assume the next leadership cadre. From the very beginning as new hires join the team, you can gauge and see which individual demonstrates potential and passion to lead their peers, and which ones can contribute to be loyal followers.
Train and Mentor on Nuances to Effective Leadership
When you’ve found people who sum up the perfect fit to be a future leader, then the next step is investing in this talent. This investment does not necessarily require you to spend some money. You should look beyond formal education and think of other practical and effective alternatives.
Not only sending them to B-School coaching programs or leadership workshops, you can also educate them with training and mentoring on everyday leadership nuances. For example, you can tag along potential talents to attend a board meeting as an assistant. Through such real-time experiences, they can observe and learn about how leadership works in the organisation.
Provide equal opportunities for everyone to lead from the front
The moon will not appear unless the cloud gives her a chance to show up and lighten up the sky. And just like the moon, sometimes all employees need is an opportunity to shine. As a leader, you should discourage any form of bias and favouritism between one employee and another.
Foster a culture that provides equal opportunities for everyone to lead. Regardless of their position or division, you must empower your employees to be a leader, even for themselves. To foster this sense of leadership, you can provide them with additional responsibility to make a decision. Such as for example, to determine the next team leader, you can apply rolling turns, so that everyone gets an opportunity to lead and learn how it feels to be a leader.
Minimise organisational hierarchy
Hierarchy often comes across as a barrier that impedes progress of potential talents to shine. Traditional hierarchy requires entry-level employees to always comply with decisions made by the higher-ups. It leaves no room for growth, while allowing them to take actively participate in the decision-making process.
Such kind of environment will only help create good followers. However when such employees are handed over the leadership baton, they will find it difficult to keep up pace. Additionally, hierarchical work culture makes it difficult for employees to reach and exchange ideas with their boss openly.
Given the importance of flat organisation structure, you can perhaps embrace the concept in your everyday workings, to facilitate seamless leadership skills transfer. It is crucial to create a system wherein everyone on board as a team member, is given a fair chance to express their ideas and opinions about company issues.
Through this approach, employees can thus contribute directly and find solutions for the greater good. For example, you can hold monthly or weekly discussion with members in your team to discuss current issues faced by the organization. Invite employees from all levels within the organisation to actively participate, brainstorm, share ideas, and be responsive to suggestions.
Employees should be encouraged to assume leadership and lead from the front, instead of subtly supporting backstabbing approaches and favouritism at work, which will dampen employee morale in time.
A leader is at the forefront of both success and failure of an organisation. In the hands of a responsible leader, is the company’s fate and future determined. Without doubt, cultivating a culture of leadership has become one of the challenging issues faced by organisations today.
While in certain cases, someone can be called a born leader, an innate sense of leadership naturally possessed, with qualities and characteristics to be a potential leader. However, a leader can also be created and molded through supportive environment and inclusive workplace culture.