A Leader’s Guide to Growing Teams and Nurturing Future Leaders

As a company leader, many turn to you for decisive actions that steer the company toward success. Exceptional leaders usually possess a well-defined vision and are open to confronting challenges and exploring innovative methods to achieve their goals.

But the real hallmark of influential leadership is the ability to inspire others. While overseeing a team’s daily tasks, a natural-born leader constantly looks for opportunities to uplift and develop their teams.

However, getting the best from your team isn’t a walk in the park. It demands patience and a genuine commitment to cultivating each member of the team until they’re ready to take on their own leadership roles. Adopting this proactive attitude can be incredibly satisfying for both you and your team.

Why is Actively Developing Your Team So Important?

There’s an important distinction between the terms “manage” and “lead.”

Typically, manager training programs emphasize mastering daily tasks and resolving employee concerns. These are vital skills every manager should possess when they assume a supervisory position.

However, true leadership transcends just task management and conflict resolution. It revolves around deeply understanding the members of your team and discovering the most effective ways to encourage their advancement.

When team members feel important and sense that their leader is committed to their progression, they tend to give more of themselves to the leader and, in turn, to the company. Employees expanding their knowledge and honing their abilities are better equipped to tackle new challenges. They evolve into more than just great workers but into insightful and creative thinkers.

This is why it’s imperative for leaders to consistently invest in nurturing their teams. This commitment benefits both the individual members and the organization as a whole.

Learn How to “Really” Manage People

Most new managers step into their roles with a high level of confidence, which is important as a company leader. However, many new managers have not had significant formal training in effective people management. Successful management teams understand that they must continually adapt and learn to remain at their peak performance.

Truly mastering people management is an ongoing journey. It involves seeking help, whether from leadership coaching, mentors, or other online courses and networking events. Being a great leader is about constantly refining your approach and listening to and learning from both superiors and subordinates.

Don’t Be Afraid to Delegate

Many leaders get to managerial positions because of their exceptional performance in previous roles. They’re dependable, excel in their tasks, and consistently deliver. However, individual excellence doesn’t always translate into being able to inspire the same in others.

The mindset of “If you want it done right, do it yourself” can really harm team growth. For some managers, the idea of delegating tasks and trusting their team’s capabilities can be a challenge. They fear the work won’t meet their personal standards and instead do the job themselves. They don’t have the time to explain the task and know it’s faster if they do it. 

But these perspectives can greatly hinder team evolution. Embracing the fact that tasks might be executed differently from your personal approach is essential. Knowing that any time invested in training someone else ultimately pays off is game-changing. The goal is to give team members the autonomy they need to innovate, the challenge to learn things themselves, and the trust that the job will get done.

Learning to delegate and relinquish control over certain projects can be challenging for leaders. However, demonstrating trust in your team not only pushes them out of their comfort zones but also creates an environment for growth.

Establish Trust Early On

Stepping up as a leader requires a foundation of self-belief. If you don’t trust yourself, it’s challenging to extend yourself and grow further. This confidence is only improved when you know your managers believe in your capabilities.

Laying the foundation of trust with your team early on is paramount for their growth. It signals that they can take risks and occasionally fall short but still remain an essential part of the team. Nobody wants to constantly feel scrutinized or micromanaged. By allowing your team the autonomy to evolve, you show your faith in their potential.

Offering trust to employees is critical when you want it returned to you. For a manager to thrive, it’s essential to recognize that the team acknowledges and values your leadership. This mutual trust clears the way for taking on larger tasks and refining your own capabilities. When trust flows reciprocally, managers and their teams become a cohesive unit, working together toward shared objectives.

Make Time for Regular One-on-One Meetings

While some managers oversee just a handful of individuals, others look after much larger teams. With a larger direct-report list, finding the time for personal interactions can seem impossible. This often results in managers sidelining this important part of meeting regularly with their team members.

Group meetings have their place, but one-on-one interactions offer a distinct advantage. They allow managers to form a deeper personal bond with team members, reinforcing positive work relationships.

Consistently setting aside time for individual meetings sends a message – everyone on my team matters. It also gives them a safe platform to share feedback or ideas, creating opportunities for more candid and open dialogue.

Invest in Your Team

As a manager, you’re in a unique position to express the value that specific individuals bring to your team. This involves both reporting any positive contributions to upper management requesting as well as advocating for salary increases, promotions or training opportunities.

Committing to your team’s growth by offering them avenues for advancement can significantly help them get past any of their own limitations. You should actively look for opportunities to improve their abilities, whether through new projects or company-sponsored training programs.

While several companies allocate funds for employee development, the onus is on managers to pinpoint and promote these opportunities for their teams. Demonstrating a genuine concern for your employees’ growth encourages them to continually aim higher in their professional journey.

Help Your Employees Thrive

To truly help your team unlock their potential, the equation is simple – you reap what you sow. The more you nurture your team through consistent communication, training, feedback, and building trust, the more they will excel and develop. Work toward building and supporting a culture of growth and learning within your team, and you’ll quickly find that your team’s performance and productivity will drastically increase.

Author Bio:


Wildly addicted to all things leadership, Cecilia Gorman is a veteran of the advertising industry and the owner of Creative Talent Partners, a training consultancy that specializes in the development of rising managers and their teams. Whether it’s a team offsite, a manager workshop or through her online Manager Boot Camp course, Cecilia’s sole pursuit is adding value to growth-focused employees.