We’ve all heard the saying that "a team is only as strong as its weakest link," but the number of business leaders choosing to ignore this sentiment is staggering, as they are more concerned with their own development and less so with their employees. Not a smart move.
Investing time in your employees and giving them the tools they need to develop is incredibly important for output quality, morale and retention.
On the flip side, a team of employees with a lack of direction and thus selfish objectives will be unable to meet collaborative goals.
Leaders need to change their mindset and begin focusing on behavior that is more conducive to group dynamics by giving those around them the help, support and attention they need to flourish.
Here are a few tips on how to help employees succeed.
Become a mentor.
When mentors come on board, professionals are likely to excel at a quicker rate than those who chose to go it alone, and the number of influential leaders -- Sheryl Sandberg, Indra Nooyi and Mark Zuckerberg, to name just three -- crediting their success, in part, to mentors during their formative business years is testament to this.
To help your employees reach their full potential and thus become more valuable to your organization, you need to become a teacher as well as a leader.
A good mentor not only believes in their mentee but also realizes they are an actual person -- not just a cog in a machine. What makes them tick? What deflates them?
Plus, it is important that you are honest with your mentee and push the employee to her fullest. Provide support and guide her through the politics of the organization, encourage her to take risks and strive for success.
It may sound obvious but one of the most effective ways to help those around you succeed is by sharing knowledge and information. By imparting your wisdom and giving others the benefit of your experience you accelerate their professional growth, while sharpening your own understanding. It also can help meet company-wide goals.
Invest time in people.
The management mettle of any leader can be tested by the amount of time they invest in their subordinates. You can't expect to lead people effectively if you don’t take the time to offer critical guidance and support. Sit down one on one with your employees and provide feedback, highlight opportunities, discuss their professional development and point out skills they could improve on.
Also as a manager, respond quickly to their queries. If you say you will find out an answer for them, make sure you do.
Make sure people are in the right position.
Leadership is about more than overseeing a team of people, it's about ensuring everybody on that team is working to the very best of their ability. Make sure all your people are in the right position within the company. Help your employees identify their strengths and make them aware of opportunities that suit their key skills. Sometimes putting people in a new role (even if it's considered a demotion) can help them achieve more in the long run.
Create development plans.
The best way to help those around you reach their potential is to engage them in their development. Start by creating your own plan. Think about where you could improve, what skills you could hone and what you could change for the better. Then share your findings and improvements with your team.
Once you have done this, sit down with them individually and together create their development plans. Ask them what they would like to improve, what skills they would like to learn and in what time frame. By involving your people in their own development, you are more likely to see results. When setting any targets, checks or performance measures it’s also critical to follow up and set new goals: Reward people when they reach their objectives and continue to raise the bar.
Lead by example.
It should really go without saying but good leaders, well, they lead. The best business leaders set the standard with actions rather than words. They are the first one into the office, and the last out each day. They take on their fair share of the workload and will be an advocate for the company inside and outside the office.
Keep your legacy in mind.
It may sound macabre but a good way to critique your own leadership style is to write your own eulogy. How do you want to be remembered? Once you have identified the type of leader you want to be, you can begin working towards that end goal.
Related: The 5 Secrets of Great Bosses