As I shared in Monday’s post, I believe the best leaders consider one of their primary roles to be the development of others. This is a strategy of multiplication. It is not only scaleable, it is one of the keys to sustainability for an organization. It’s also a beautiful picture of a leader constantly increasing his or her capacity.
So how do you do it? How does a leader develop others? Countless ways. Here are five to jumpstart your thinking.
Create high expectations – It is the Pygmalion effect in action. People have a strong tendency to rise to the level of expectations placed on them. Some research indicates this as one of the primary factors in the success of firstborn children. Parents unknowingly place higher expectations on them than their siblings. High expectations can be a catalyst for those we lead to excel.
Provide challenging assignments – “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions,” Oliver Wendell Holmes. We learn most of what we know about leadership from leading. We learn most of what we know in life from failure. When we give appropriate challenge to those we wish to develop, we turbo-charge their opportunity for growth.
Ask challenging questions – I never cease to be amazed by the power of the right question asked at the right time. (I’ve written previously about some of my favorite questions.) As leaders, we need to ask more questions. When we give someone an answer, we’ve given them a fish; when we ask them a question, we’re teaching them to bait their own hook. Ask great questions and teach others to do the same – they’ll thank you for it… later.
Give candid feedback – I hate half-hearted, half-truth feedback. I always have. Truth is a leader’s best friend. It’s also a great ally for emerging leaders. If something is holding you back as a leader, don’t you want to know? Of course you do! So do your people. When you and I fail to give candid feedback, we are self-serving leaders not serving leaders. We’re too concerned with what someone will think in the moment rather than being concerned with their long-term well being. The best leaders are truth tellers.
Share your contacts – This is not a new idea for me, but someone put it in a new light for me recently. The comment was made that to share your friends is the most valuable thing we can give someone. I’d never thought about it like that. I’ve re-doubled my efforts to share my contacts with those I’m trying to help develop. It may be a coach, a friend, a colleague at another organization or just someone I know who may be able to add value in a person’s life.
Doer, Delegator or Developer – what type of leader will you be? This single decision will change the way you lead.[GLS_Shield]
What can you do today to be more of a Developer?