How to Develop Leadership Skills in Your Staff

Key takeaways from this article

Effective and flexible leadership development in your employees is crucial to the overall success of your business. Nurturing talent, supporting their development, and helping people achieve their potential is not only beneficial for the individuals but also gives your business an advantage.

A company where employees are encouraged to stretch themselves, develop their leadership skills, and achieve their goals is much more likely to succeed in competitive marketplaces.

If you are a business owner, it is important to recognize your role in employee leadership development and how you can identify and develop leadership qualities and skills in your employees.

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Identifying leadership skills in employees

There is no set template for spotting a potential leader. People display leadership skills and qualities in different ways, but there are some commonalities that successful leaders will usually share.

Leadership potential will usually mean that someone shows abilities, characteristics and traits that are often associated with being a successful leader. It’s in the interests of organisations to be actively looking for individuals with leadership qualities so that they can build a strong workforce and develop future leaders.

What are some of the common characteristics that all leaders share?


Would-be leaders are engaged with their work. They’re not just turning up to pick up a paycheck but take a real interest in what they’re doing. They may illustrate this engagement by asking thoughtful questions and sharing suggestions.

Effective communication

Their communication skills may not be completely polished, but a would-be leader has to be able to communicate effectively. Potential leaders will often demonstrate empathetic listening skills and are able to express their ideas effectively.

Help their colleagues achieve

Encouraging other people to achieve is a key part of being a leader. Potential leaders will often exhibit skills such as emotional intelligence and empathy. They are the kind of people who praise their colleagues when they’ve achieved something in the workplace and never take credit for something that was not their responsibility.

They can multitask

Leaders will have a range of responsibilities and multiple tasks that they need to take care of at any one time. They will need to have a strategic vision and balance different information to help inform their decisions. Potential leaders need to illustrate that they can handle a large and varied workload without their performance suffering.

Always keen to learn

Would-be leaders are always open to learning and developing new skills. They are proactive when it comes to personal development and will often jump at the opportunity to take part in courses and training programmes.

They’re problem solvers

Potential leaders will illustrate an ability to understand and solve problems. They’ll be proactive and creative thinkers, able to apply their acquired knowledge and insight to every situation. A good leader needs to be able to solve problems and pass on this knowledge to those in their team.

Take responsibility

Potential leaders are always willing to take responsibility for their successes and failures. They don’t shirk their responsibility or try to pass on tasks to other people which fall within their own remit. This is crucial for any leader who hopes to gain the respect of their team.

Good team players

Potential leaders will usually be good team players. They’re able to negotiate challenging situations and find creative resolutions to disputes. They tend to be well-liked, respected, and will frequently be the people that other team members turn to.

They’re ambitious for themselves and the organisations

Potential leaders will usually be ambitious for themselves and want to make progress in their careers, but that won’t be detached from the overall success of the organisation. They exhibit an understanding that their own progress supports the success of the organisation and are always looking for ways to further that success.

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How do you develop leadership skills in your employees?

It takes time to develop critical leadership skills, and requires a significant investment of time, and sometimes money. It’s important to remember, however, that this is an investment in the future of the organisation. You should continue to reap the benefits of this investment for years to come.

Contemporary leaders need to have a coaching mindset, and they will themselves have undergone coaching to help them move into a new leadership role. Different leaders from different generations will have different motivations and may have different definitions of what constitutes leadership.

Effective leadership development within your organisation will be a holistic and ongoing process, rather than a one-off event. Leadership training needs to be embedded into the whole culture of the organisation, with new people joining a programme, providing a meaningful way for people to develop their skills and talents going forward.

What strategies can help develop your employee's leadership skills?

There is no single magic strategy that can turn promising employees into effective leaders. What’s required is a comprehensive leadership training programme that maximises the potential of people with promise.

This needs to be based on the real requirements of your organisation, not just a one-size-fits-all exercise. It requires the input of experienced mentors and coaches, from within or outside the organisation, who can work with individuals to help them identify their strengths and weaknesses and work towards their goals.

How we can help with leadership development for your employees

At Leadership Success, we work with organisations to help them foster and develop their talent. We provide innovative leadership development programmes that are entirely bespoke and tailored to the needs of the individual and the organisation.

Our team of leadership development experts focus on the needs of each participant, recognise different approaches to leadership, and then helps them to develop their skills and reach their goals.

Everyone on the agreed programme will engage in their own individual development journey, with learning resources that have been customised to their individual situation. This includes assessments, e-learning and an on-the-job action guide. Senior managers and executives can track the progress of their participants in real time via online dashboard reporting.

We have a proven track record of success and on average we increase individual manager performance by 40%.

Contact us today to discuss your own particular requirements and to find out how we can help.

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