Leaders become great not because of their power or results, but because of their ability to empower others. To create anything lasting, to develop a team or organization that can grow and improve, to build anything for the future, a leader’s main responsibility is to develop other people. This people or team development happens in several ways:
• Help them reach their personal potential – it’s not about becoming the best, or becoming better than anyone else performing a role. Rather, it’s about helping each person become the best they can be. We all have potential to be more than we are and it requires a commitment to growth, both personally and professionally, to have a chance at realizing our potential.
• Help them perform their jobs more effectively – there are always new methods, tools and techniques we can employ to produce our results more effectively. Becoming more productive enables us to produce greater results or outcomes with less effort. Leaders help each person on the team understand how to be more effective.
• Help them learn to become leaders themselves – the goal in developing others is to help them become a leader. Your role is to equip them to be leaders – at least of themselves, before becoming a leader of others. People or team development in the manner described leads to reproduction and all organizations need reproduction of leaders if they hope to grow and advance, have greater impact and achieve more as an organization. The type of leader who is able to empower and develop others results in team members becoming loyal to the leader because of what he or she has done for the benefit of the team member.
For this loyalty to become reality, the people on the team must see some evidence of the leader possessing certain criteria, including:
1. Is my leader passionate about his own personal growth? Only growing people are effective at growing others. If people see you investing time in being coached, mentored and always willing to learn, they know your growth is important to you.
2. Does the leader’s growth journey have credibility? Your team will wonder if you have anything to offer them. Leadership experts James Kouzes and Barry Posner have identified several laws of leadership, the first being: “If you don’t believe the messenger, you won’t believe the message.” Your growth journey must have visible credibility and success.
3. Is the leader successful in the areas where I want to develop? As a leader, you can’t give what you don’t have. If a person on your team desires to grow in the area of building relationships with colleagues, they must be able see your strength and success in this area. Otherwise, why would they ever listen to any of your advice on this topic?
4. Do other people this leader develops actually succeed? What is your prior track record of developing other people? If you don’t have a track record, why would anyone place their growth future in your hands? If you are young and don’t have a track record yet, don’t despair – your own success to this point can meet this initial requirement.
How do you think those on your team would answer these questions? Be honest. As always, I hope I have stimulated some reflective thinking on your part. If you are either hesitant or not satisfied with the answers your team would likely provide, where would you like to focus?
PS – The content for this message has been taken from one of John Maxwell’s most recent books Developing The Leader Within You 2.0. John originally wrote a book by the same title 25 years ago. Over 80% of the content has been updated in this 2.0 edition, published this year. I will be conducting a virtual mastermind study of this book in the near future. It will be a 10 week study with 60 minute sessions held weekly. If you are interested in learning more about this study, please contact me directly. You’ll be glad you did and so will your team!