Self-leadership is a skill set for all employees in an organization so they are able to develop, manage and direct themselves to perform effectively both in professional and personal life. The application of this skill set is possible when the organization’s goals and values are in sync with all its employees at an individual level.
While employees themselves need to work on both behavioral and cognitive strategies to work on their self-leadership, management can also help to boost this skill set in a few ways.
Four of the most effective ways to boost self-leadership are:
- Be ready to have self-leaders
Before management starts their planning of embedding self-leadership amongst their employees, it’s advisable to begin by observing and assessing their organisational culture. This guides them to decide about their readiness for change, as well as directs them to explore and understand the processes and benefits of self-leaders in organizations.
Once the general norms and regulations are established in the organization, management can shift their focus on self-leadership as a skill set during the recruitment. The most common way to build self-leaders is through recruiting individuals that have a good predisposition for this skill set.
- Encourage and educate
Research shows that recognition can help employees achieve a specific target. Hence, encouraging employees with small gift gestures and awards can help in building their self-leadership.
Oftentimes developing self-leadership requires education or training with emphasis on learning specific technical and soft skills to further boost self-leadership. To do this, managers can work as coaches themselves or the organizations can hire professional coaches to help employees learn these skills through various workshops.
For new employees, management should also assess and together plan about how they could do their work most efficiently, and which areas they could improve upon at the moment. Encouraging them at the beginning further helps them to make better and positive changes amongst themselves and to bring up concerns sincerely and honestly.
- Trust your employee’s self-leadership
After training and encouragement, trusting your employee’s self-leadership becomes necessary as employees tend to work along with opportunities in order to prove themselves. Bouncing them around from one task to another without clear reasoning can negatively affect your employees’ self-leading behaviours. Hence, management can assign authentic authority within set limits to employees over their own work, such as setting deadlines for their projects while keeping in mind the required set of projects to be achieved within the following months.
And if the manager thinks that an employee is confused and is slightly off the desired path, instead of telling them what to do or where to move ahead, they can simply ask them leading questions so they can begin to steer themselves in the right direction.
- Establishing a common leadership language
Managers who themselves have leadership skills at times face difficulty in communicating and transferring these leadership skills or mentoring their subordinates. Even research shows that 93% of managers feel that they need training on how to coach their employees. Hence, it’s important to first give training to managers to further teach them about how to effectively build a common leadership language which helps them to make effective communication.
To start working on this common leadership language, manager should focus on:
- Identifying the strengths and weaknesses of their employees.
- What competencies they need to work on to become a self-leader.
- How to convey the importance of those competencies to the employees.
- How to teach these competencies to the employees.
- What could be the measures to evaluate the progress of the employees.
Self-leadership programs boost employee performance and innovation in an organization and to achieve this they need both managers and management support.