Three individuals who work in a design studio discuss a work project.
Leadership isn't something that people are taught — it's learned and honed over time. One effective teaching strategy is to model the leadership you want from your employees. — Getty Images/Thomas Barwick

Highly talented managers play a significant role in your business’s performance. Research from Gallup showed that teams with great managers have 48% higher profitability, 22% greater productivity, and 30% better employee engagement than teams with less talented managers.

What makes a talented manager? Leadership skills are critical to achieving those types of performance results. Leadership doesn’t come naturally to every manager, but the good news is that it’s relatively easy to develop. Here are some ways to help managers improve their leadership and motivate your team.

Learn each person’s natural leadership style

Most people have a natural tendency toward one of 11 common leadership styles. These styles range from democratic (making decisions based on team members’ input) to situational (making decisions based on specific context). Understanding the style that your manager gravitates to can help you understand any blind spots, strengths, and pitfalls their leadership may have. And you can design further training for that person based on their assessment.

[Read more: 5 Management Skills for New Managers to Focus On]

Model the type of leadership you wish to see

Sydney Finkelstein, a professor at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, states that most people learn how to lead from observing their superiors. Managers (and employees) take cues from the way their leader gives direction and leads others throughout the workweek.

“People are watching all the time,” said Finkelstein in Harvard Business Review. “It’s useful to be deliberate and aware that people are paying attention.”

Provide opportunities to show your leadership in action. Invite your managers to sit in on meetings where you’re in charge, or offer to go through projects and responsibilities together side by side. “[Do] real work together, looking for opportunities to explain what you’re doing and how you’re doing it,” said Finkelstein. Look for teachable moments where you can model the type of leadership you want others to perform.

[Do] real work together, looking for opportunities to explain what you’re doing and how you’re doing it.

Sydney Finklestein, Steven Roth Professor of Management, Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth

Offer mentoring opportunities

Mentorship can take many forms. Formal mentorship programs are a useful way to develop new managers. Pair them with experienced supervisors, and set up a shadow program where they can learn the ropes in a more structured setting. Connect more experienced managers to business leaders outside the organization where they can ask questions openly and get another perspective on leadership.

Delegate (and don’t micromanage)

“In order for managers to grow into leaders, they need to help their team flourish by being able to trust in their ability to work independently and carry out more responsibility,” wrote Heidi Lynne Kurter in Forbes. “Delegating is not only a great way to free up time to focus more on leading employees, but it also allows employees to find new and more efficient ways of doing things.”

Delegating to your managers helps instill confidence, and it signals to the rest of your team that you trust your manager to carry out your vision. Resist the urge to micromanage once you’ve delegated a task; provide the resources your manager needs, but take a step back until they ask for help.

Invest in formal leadership training

There are dozens of structured leadership training programs available to managers. Choosing the right one for your team requires understanding what skills they need to develop, their career goals, and the ways a specific type of training can help your business. Here are some popular leadership training courses to explore:

There are also plenty of free courses on sites like Coursera and LinkedIn Learning. Work with each manager to learn more about their capacity to take on training, their preferred style of learning, and how training can help them reach their career goals.

[Read more: 9 Leadership Training Programs for Managers]

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