In overseeing your small business, you may find yourself at times having to turn some of the operations over to others in your company, allowing you to take some of the pressure off yourself.

So, how hard can it really be to find some leaders within your organization to do just that?

To the surprise of some small business heads, the ability to locate potential leaders inside their own companies can prove tricky at times.

With that being the case, not only how do you find such individuals when you need them, but how do you put them in positions to lead when the time comes?

Give Your Employees Opportunities

So that you can put your workers in the best positions to succeed, remember these pointers:

  1. Review – For starters, make sure you review each and every employee, seeing what their strengths and weaknesses are. As an example, someone who is not that good of a people person is probably not going to thrive (and or enjoy) a role as head of sales. That individual not only needs to oftentimes meet with current and potential clients, but they have to lead departmental meetings. If they are not comfortable talking in front of others and/or suggesting ideas, you could find yourself with a problem. Another example would be putting someone who is not all that assertive in the role of head of accounting. He or she is likely going to have times where they have to go after clients who have failed to pay their invoices. As a result, they will need to be direct with the individuals, letting them know that the money is owed and must be paid sooner rather than later. While those stereotypes of not being a people person or not being assertive do not hold true in every case, they are definitely food for thought;
  2. Opportunities – You may ultimately discover that offering some of your hard-working employees the chance at furthering their educations may be in both your and their best interests over time. When you turn to career opportunities for organizational leadership, you give employees the opportunity to improve a variety of skill sets, notably leadership. By getting a Master’s Degree, they can be better equipped to lead within your organization. To make matters easier for them, the ability to take online courses in their non-working hours oftentimes is a better option than having to commute back-and-forth to an onsite campus facility. The ability to do classes online also will help them overall with computer skills, something many small businesses demand in today’s employee;
  3. Comfort – Even though you may desperately need someone to manage a certain leadership role within your business, make sure that individual is not only skilled enough to do the job, but also has a sizable comfort level in that role. Forcing someone into a role he or she is not going to be comfortable with is a recipe for disaster. As mentioned earlier, most employees have strengths and weaknesses that are rather discernible after spending time working for you. Trying to plug a square peg into a round circle etc. can be uncomfortable for both you and the employee. While you have to ultimately decide what is in the best interests of your small business, don’t force leadership on those individuals clearly not ready or willing to lead;
  4. Encouragement – Lastly, always do your best to encourage employees, not put them down. Sure, some mistakes will get under your skin, but you likely have made your share over time too. Boosting employee morale is one of the best ways to get a good day’s work out of any employee on your payroll. He or she will be more inclined to go that extra mile for you when they see you are encouraging, not disparaging them, especially around co-workers. Be that company leader willing to point out even the mundane good things from time to time. No, you’re not a cheerleading coach, but you are someone who should always set a positive example for those individuals working under you.

About the Author: Dave Thomas covers small business topics on the web.