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Using Recognition to Develop Leaders

Chances are, your team is full of people with varying levels of leadership ability. As a good leader, it's your responsibility to help fine-tune these skills, to develop leaders within your team. The following Leadership Development Ideas serve a dual purpose in that they can be used to recognize people for existing leadership efforts while helping exploit these talents for future use. By developing leaders within your team, you're building a stronger team.

Development Idea 1: Mentoring New Employees
Recognize team members who are familiar with organizational norms by appointing them as mentors to new employees.

Development Idea 2: Representing the Team
Next time you're approached by someone who needs a representative from your area on a cross-functional team, consider sending a strong team member. Not only will they gain valuable exposure, they'll develop important skills.

Development Idea 3: Solving Tough Problems
Help empower employees and reduce their reliance on you by asking them to present you with several feasible solutions for a current problem. You're likely to gain a fresh perspective, and if you're comfortable, can ask them to implement the solution.

Development Idea 4: Special Training Opportunities
Reward employees for their leadership abilities by letting them attend off-site seminars or training events on the company's dime. When the employee returns, he or she can share what they learned with the rest of the team.

Development Idea 5: Project Leadership
Help employees refine their project management skills by allowing them to lead project teams. Don't be afraid to relinquish control, but be sure to lend support as needed.

As a leader, these opportunities will help you feel more comfortable with empowering your employees while simultaneously helping them feel more comfortable with responsibility. What's best is that many of these development ideas don't cost a thing, but still provide a hefty return.

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