There are thousands of articles written about leadership; how to be a leader, what makes a great leader, the difference between leaders and managers. However, in an article by Matt Mayberry, Speaker and Maximum Performance Strategist. CEO of Matt Mayberry Enterprises, published in Entrepreneur Magazine, I believe he hit on an important point.
True leadership is much more than authority and recognition from the outside world. Instead, leadership is all about developing people and helping others reach their full potential. It’s about equipping others with the right tools and strategies to not only maximize the success of an organization but also the lives of individuals. It’s about breaking down barriers and leading others through the uncertainty of the future.
Developing your people is not only a great leadership trait to possess so that you build a truly successful team; it is also important for your own career advancement.
If you don’t have employees that you have developed enough so that they can take your place, you’ll have a hard time justifying your case for being promoted. Imagine if you not only had the qualifications for advancement but could prove to your boss that you have been developing others to step in so there is little, if any, down time, how desirable you’d be for that promotion.
Forbes published 5 Strategies that Will Turn Your Employees Into Leaders. In a nutshell, the author recommends the following:
- Teach Them to Network
- Give Them the Right Experience
- Allow Them to Struggle a Little
- Be a Mentor
- Create an Ownership Mentality
Giving the right experience is a great place to start. You may be able to complete a project faster and better, but allowing your employees to take the ball and run with a particular task is not only a great way for them to learn it may also provide a few new ideas for the process.
“A leader takes people where they want to go. A great leader takes people where they don’t necessarily want to go, but ought to be.” –Rosalynn Carter
The author suggestions:
As you dole out projects and assignments, give some thought to the unique duties you have as a manager. These are the skills that your employees may not be familiar with—but should, if they aim to move up within the organization. Then, find ways for your employees to start gaining experience in those areas.Since these tasks typically include managing other employees, the leader will have to make sure the team stays on task, meets objectives, and works collaboratively—all skills that are essential for a manager.
The HR department of Berkeley speaks in more detail about the process of developing your people:
Supporting the growth and development of your staff is vitally important in helping them be as productive and successful as possible in their current role, encouraging motivation and retention, and setting them up for career opportunities. It is your job to help your staff be the best they can be.
As a supervisor or manager, you should:
- Meet with them to discuss their plan
- Provide feedback on their goals
- Provide suggestions for development activities
- Help them set realistic time frames
- Help them troubleshoot potential obstacles
- Schedule periodic (quarterly or semi-annually) meetings to monitor their progress
- Make revisions to their plan as appropriate, and acknowledge results
Being a great leader requires a number of qualities, however, if you don’t have a team that is motivated, invested and encouraged to work with you, you will likely fail in your endeavors. How well do you work to develop your people to become the best they can be?
JJ DiGeronimo, keynote speaker for women, based in Cleveland, presents keynote addresses on women in leadership, diversity in business and advancement for women.