Research has shown that employees, especially millennials, value companies that develop their leadership skills. In fact, according to Gallup, opportunities for education and growth are some of the main factors the younger working generation seeks out when searching for a new job. Often, this comes in the form of a promotion to a team leader or managerial position.
Some executives believe leadership skills are innate, but this simply isn’t true. With the right encouragement, anyone can be made into a leader. Here are traits to encourage in your ambitious employees:
In a conversation with Entrepreneur, Keri Potts, senior director of public relations for ESPN, explained that being open is the only way for leaders to gain the trust of their employees.
“It has allowed me the freedom to be fully present and consistent,” she explained. “They know what they’re getting at all times.”
Encouraging transparency starts at a company-wide level, not individually. When you show employees it’s safe to be honest and truthful, they feel more comfortable adopting that approach. Try adopting goal-setting software that’s visible across the entire company. Allowing them to see the goals and accomplishments of their peers proves to them they work in a transparent office.
According to Fast Company, one common trait among female CEOs is their willingness to tackle a risky project. Taking jobs no one else wanted gave these women exposure and positioned them as problem-solvers. While you can’t demand someone accept a project with no guarantee of success, you can encourage this trait by rewarding people who think outside the box. For example, one ad agency offers a Heroic Failure award to employees with big yet unsuccessful ideas. The BetterWorks Work Graph helps reward risk-taking, prompting managers to congratulate employees based on their goals and work progress.
True leaders don’t just go with the flow. They set ambitious goals for themselves, often for the satisfaction of achieving something great. When setting goals, encourage employees to go beyond their comfort zones. Use OKRs – objectives and key results – to help them strategize how they’ll burst beyond their own boundaries. For example, if your creative firm has a graphic designer who can sketch 10 thumbnails before 10 a.m., encourage them to reach for 12 or 15.
Your company is only as good as its employees. Developing your employees’ leadership traits in 2017 will help your business meet its goals for the coming year.