As an entrepreneur, it is your responsibility to seek out and develop the next generation of company leaders. Not every employee is well-suited for managerial roles, but if you take the time to locate those with potential and harness their skills, you will be able to improve employee engagement and ​productivity, and mold the leaders of tomorrow.

As part of the Amerisleep hiring process, we strategically choose candidates who demonstrate their ability to succeed at the job they're applying for and exhibit attitudes and behaviors that are fitting for the directors we'd want one day. Over the years, we've seen that our most successful recruits were individuals who joined our business at the entry-level and rose to leadership positions.

Below are three things we've learned which you can apply to develop company managers from within.

Challenge them with tasks outside their area of expertise.

Business leaders don't have to be experts in everything. However, they do need to be well-rounded. Varied experiences equip managers with the ability to better navigate the challenges of working on different campaigns, initiatives, and programs.

To nurture company directors, cross-train them and give them opportunities to solve problems outside their current area of expertise. This enables them to think more holistically about how their contributions impact your business. For instance, when you rotate a marketer into a customer service training program, the marketer will learn more about the common questions customers ask and their perception about your competitors. As a result, that marketer will be more capable of developing campaigns that address common misconceptions and debunk competitor claims.

Encourage an analytical and entrepreneurial mindset.

Entrepreneurs are natural problem solvers and value creators. They approach problems by asking, "How can I modify this particular process, based on the facts at hand, to create more value for users?" This type of thinking is also known as effectual reasoning, and it combines both analytical and entrepreneurial processes to produce new solutions that may improve the end-user experience or even employee productivity and engagement.

Most employees are good at taking directions. Leaders, on the other hand, take initiative. Sometimes though, they just need a bit of encouragement and motivation. To facilitate your employees' professional development, have them regularly seek out new opportunities to grow sales, decrease costs, improve productivity, or enhance the customer experience. Don't let them stop there though. Require that all new ideas presented come with an analytical summary of how each proposal might benefit the business.

Set an outstanding example.

Your employees are naturally inclined to follow the example you set when they oversee their own teams. They will exhibit learned behaviors and reflect attitudes they've observed watching you grow the company. That means one of the best things you can do to nurture the management skills of your employees is to be an effective, compassionate, and respectful leader.

Always be honest and transparent with your team and insist they do the same. Treat every employee fairly and with the respect they deserve as human beings and colleagues. Position yourself as an empathetic authority figure who cares about helping people reach their potential, and you'll help set them up for long-term success.