One of my favorite quotes is, “The highest calling for any leader is to grow other leaders.” That is why I named my company “Leadergrow.” I truly believe the best leaders carry the idea in their hearts at all times.
Performance is essential every day, but so is investing in the future of people. In fact, I believe that is a major component of performance for anyone who leads people.
Distractions are there every day
It is typical and easy to become distracted with daily critical decisions and forget about developing people. I advise leaders to carve out at least 30% of their daily energy to grow leaders. That may sound like a lot. On many days it seems there is not enough time to deal with emergencies.
The challenges are opportunities to grow leaders
What some managers fail to understand is that problems are opportunities. It is in the crucible of immense challenges that you find the greatest teaching moments. A good technique is to delegate a problem to upcoming leaders and then coach them as they learn.
Many leaders forget to use the critical times as teachable moments. In doing so, they feel more in command of the problems, but they sacrifice the learning opportunities.
Find the genius within your people
Each person on your team has brilliance within, and your job is to let it shine through. You are like a sculptor trying to find the beauty hidden inside a mound of clay.
Get to know your people
One technique that will help you is to get to know your people very well. Find out what types of things light them up. Create opportunities to enhance learning in that direction. Let them play in their most creative sandbox. They will amaze you with their engagement.
Embrace the failures to grow leaders
There may be failures along the way, but human beings learn more from their failures than their successes. With the proper coaching, any failure can be a teachable moment. That fact is how we all learned to walk and talk.
Reinforcement is essential
As you coach less experienced leaders, don’t forget to praise the baby steps in the right direction. People need recognition at all times, but it is most critical when they are stretching their skills. For example, learning to evaluate smart risks is one skill that will pay off for any person.
As you work with people, the best use of your time is to work on growing other leaders. Let that be your leadership legacy. You will shine as one of the elite masters in your enterprise.
Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust. He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations