Last month we recognized how we can increase our own leadership ability by making the choice to be influential, regardless of our position in an organization.
For this month’s edition, I promised to write about how to develop leaders around you.
From Management to Leadership to Team Leadership
Throughout history, we have seen the model of leadership evolve from Management in the 1970s and 1980s, in which managers told people what to do, to Leadership in the 1990s, in which leaders got people to want to do what they needed them to do. Currently, we are in an era of Team Leadership, in which management realizes that they cannot lead by themselves, and therefore tries to make leaders of every person in every task.
Business is so diverse that we can’t expect a select few people to be good at everything. The best teams have people who are great at doing everything that is required. Everyone on these teams has a certain degree of influence. When they can use that influence to learn to lead others, then you end up with many leaders.
Successful businesses of the future will be those that can quickly make leaders of everyone in their organizations.
Who is grooming leaders?
Leaders should be developing leaders, but only a small number of them do. Many leaders just maintain followers. Having followers is very easy. You tell them what to do, and they do it.
What if we played Follow the Leader? This is an opportunity to encourage others to become leaders and to follow them in support of their victory. You would create many more leaders this way.
For example, Joe manages Ken in an environment where employees feel empowered to contribute ideas. Ken has an idea, and shares it with Joe. “That idea has considerable benefits,” Joe responds encouragingly. “Let’s explore it further in a fact-finding meeting next Tuesday. How about leading the meeting, Ken?”
Notice that the manager didn’t use the ‘do as you’re told’ approach, nor did he demonstrate behaviours that are selfish, greedy, or cynical, or that exhibit a ‘me first’ attitude. He empowers the employee by being open to and listening to new ideas. He develops leadership qualities by giving the employee the added responsibility of conducting a fact-finding session.
Another example: Jen, the newest member of the human resources department, has heard horror stories about her new boss. After settling into her position, she asks her boss, “What can I do to help you be more effective?” “What do you mean?” her boss replies. “How can I help you alleviate some of the pressure and ensure your job is easier?” Jen explained. Within six weeks, Jen was given multiple new assignments, from minor items to a major project that saved the company thousands of dollars a year.
During tough economic times, the most precious qualities a leader can have are creativity and determination. Creative thinkers find opportunity in tough times, and determination ensures that creative ideas get put to the test, and succeed or get reworked until there is success.
The legacy features of a company exist in its’ leaders’ abilities to reproduce themselves. Compounding influence, time, and money is a result of developing other leaders who can do what you and I can do by developing others.
Leaders are dealers in hope. Those who are anchored solid to their own leadership on the inside, have creative answers, and provide hope for others will have great opportunity. You do not have to be a superhero, a famous celebrity, or even in a position of authority to make a difference in the world. You only need to make a difference in your world.
Have a wonderfull and happy summer!
“The best way to get promoted is to get your boss promoted, and find your own replacement.” ~ Unknown
“There is a choice you have to make,
In everything you do.
So keep in mind that in the end,
The choice you make, makes you.” ~ John Wooden