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You won’t be the leader of your business forever—and part of your job is making sure there’s someone ready to take over for you when you exit.

In other words, part of your job description is identifying the people on your team who have leadership potential, and then cultivating that potential. The question is, what can you do to empower your team members to flex their leadership muscles? Here are four strategies I’ve found to be effective.

4 Ways to Nurture Leaders

  1. Stop thinking you can do everything on your own. This may be the hardest thing for leaders to do—but if you really want to empower the people around you, you have to step back! Relinquish control of certain tasks, delegating them to the team and allowing them to figure out how to complete the job. (Of course, you should always be available to offer guidance when needed.) Also make clear to your employees that you value their opinions and ideas; invite promising young leaders into your decision-making processes.
  2. Inspire your team with a sense of vision. Something else you can do to nurture leaders is to provide them with a clear sense of motivation. That means articulating your company’s vision. It means explaining why you’re all doing what you’re doing. And, it means showing each employee how their job contributes to that vision.
  3. Develop a culture of open communication. Simply put, nobody wants to step up and be the leader of a business that is badly broken, closed-off, or unhealthy. It’s vital that yours is a culture in which people feel comfortable speaking up about their ideas, their criticisms, and their opinions, without fearing any kind of retribution. One way you can put this into practice is by having an open-door policy and always welcoming employees who come to you with feedback.
  4. Offer opportunities for professional development. Finally, remember that your employees may sometimes benefit from formal training opportunities, and ways to hone their leadership skills—whether that means you send them to a seminar or bring an executive coach in-house to work with them.

As a leader, you play a vital role in inspiring the other leaders who surround you—so take that job seriously! These steps should point you in the right direction.