(Editor’s Note: Today’s post is brought to you by our friends at Kronos, a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Join me for a special SHRM podcast with Kronos CEO Aron Ain as we chat about “Work Inspired: How to Build an Organization Where Everyone Loves to Work”. Enjoy the article!)
None of us have the word “leader” in our job title. We’re administrators, coordinators, managers, directors, or in the case of this Time Well Spent cartoon from our friends at Kronos – chief executive officer. But that doesn’t mean we’re not expected to be leaders.
When I looked at today’s cartoon, I really focused on the words “engaging” and “empowering” because I think we expect everyone to exhibit those qualities. Regardless of their job title. Which means that leaders are everywhere in our organizations and we need to cultivate those skills in our employees.
New hires should receive a Leadership 101 session during onboarding. As I mentioned, there are basic attributes of leadership that we expect in all employees. Organizations should let employees know that they expect people to use those attributes in their daily work interactions. A perfect way to start is with a brief Leadership 101 session, which could be conducted during onboarding or a recorded webinar for everyone to listen.
Companies might want to offer a “Principles of Leadership” program to all employees. Many organizations conduct leadership training in conjunction with management skills training. And that’s fine. But it could make sense to build off the Leadership 101 session with a longer program focused on helping employees at every level refine their skills in leading. Even if they don’t plan to become a manager.
Make a distinction between leadership and management functions. Speaking of managers, I totally believe that managers need to have leadership skills. But sometimes talking about leadership during management skills training can be confusing. I think organizations should start drawing distinctions between the two. That way, when companies are talking about leadership, managers realize that their employees need to be developed in these areas as well.
As the cartoon mentions, it’s important for CEOs to have leadership skills. But it’s equally important for all employees. Because when leadership is cultivated at every level, then things like engagement and empowerment become a whole lot easier.14