How to Train the Next Generation of Leaders for Your Small Business

You’ve turned your small business dreams into a reality. You’ve created something to be proud of. Now how can you ensure your vision and business goals are being adhered to? You can’t be the only champion for your company, so it’s crucial to train leaders that can support your objectives and inspire others to do the same.

Read on to learn more about leadership training for small business and how it can help you be more productive, more efficient, and more profitable.

Take Advantage of Local Resources

Small business associations (SBAs) and industry groups typically offer leadership training courses. Admission to these courses is often included in your membership fees, so make use of what you are already paying for. Alternatively, there are also many free or low-cost online leadership courses that will fit the bill.

Once you have identified relevant programs, motivate employees to participate. Show employees you are serious about leadership training by providing incentives or even participating yourself. Beyond providing tangible rewards like stock options or profit sharing, education-based incentives show that you’re willing to invest in their success.

Nurture Natural Leaders

It doesn’t take long to recognize employees who possess natural leadership and communication skills. Invest in training these individuals, and they can put what they’ve learned to use training others. Look for those who take initiative to learn new skills and processes.

It also pays to be mindful that the best performers don’t always make the best leaders. Your top sales associate might be a hit with customers, but not so much when it comes to inspiring success in colleagues.

Through training programs or allowing employees to attend important client meetings or industry events, potential leaders can learn what interpersonal skills are needed in higher positions. You’ll also have the opportunity to put their knowledge of your business to the test in a real world situation.

Use performance reviews to communicate employee progress and emphasize the importance you place on training. Reviews are also an excellent opportunity to get feedback from employees on where leadership initiatives could be implemented or improved. Training initiatives become ineffective if not measured and monitored for success, and measurable goals provide guidance for eager employees.

Give Employees Opportunities to Learn from Leaders

Test run a manager for a day program. Give employees the opportunity to shadow your company’s current leaders. They will see what it really takes to be in that position and it will give them a chance to show leaders what they’re capable of. Actually seeing how leadership positions operate can inspire employees to strive for more.

When assigning new duties or tasks, it is imperative to encourage employees. Let them know they have resources available to them and evaluate their work along the way. Try to find the right balance between giving them the freedom to find the solution on their own, while offering the support needed to succeed.

To take it a step further, have those with leadership potential complete a task that is unfamiliar to test their abilities and see how well they perform under pressure. They might impress you with an innovative approach to an old issue, or they might fail. Either way, you’ll get a clear picture of what they’re capable of and where they can improve. Think of any mistakes or miscues as a learning experience, for both the employee and for yourself.

Let Their Passion for Your Business Flourish

When you lead by example, the passion you have for your company is easily communicated to your employees. As difficult as it might seem to let someone take the reins of your business, trust that those with the drive to see the company succeed have your best interests in mind. When you can trust others with key responsibilities, you will be free to explore new opportunities.

Fostering future leaders is a continuous process. Just like one trip to the gym won’t get you in shape, one-off courses or training sessions aren’t enough to facilitate lasting change and keep employees interested in becoming better leaders. Once you have created believable, actionable goals, be sure to set an example and track your leadership training goals.

For more helpful articles and tips related to leadership and human resources, see our business resources here.


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