Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others. —Jack Welch, GE CEO
Have you ever seen a leadership characteristic in another person that they didn’t see in themselves?
When your sights are set on how you can help other leaders blossom, it’s a sure sign you’re a leader.
I’ve had this epiphany a few times in my career. The first time was as a young teller supervisor at a downtown bank. We had a “shopper’s” program which meant that everyone in the teller line was graded on several points by mystery shoppers. In my early twenties, and newly employed full time after college, the equation was clear. If my tellers did well on criteria my manager felt was important, then I did well, too. My performance was directly tied to the performance of my team.
Over the years, the grading system was not always so cut and dry and/or I became the one who had to choose what was important to me and my business. The demands don’t come from on high anymore, but the general rule still applies.
Now that I am coaching others to build businesses and building my network marketing business online, I manage no one – which is exactly how I like it.
On the other hand, leadership principles matter more than ever, whether you are leading a team of independent sales people, or managing employees within an organization.
Good leaders and bosses know that attaining success in their businesses has everything to do with the ability to elevate the people around them.
It may feel counterintuitive at first, but you exemplify strong leadership by becoming nearly invisible as others leaders rise around you.
And then a funny thing happens once your eyes are open to the standout leadership qualities in others. You start to see them all the time.
By its very nature, leadership implies you have the authority and opportunity to develop other leaders. However for various reasons, some fail to do it.
What a waste of an opportunity! Avoid falling into any of these traps that hinder you from building up others. If you recognize one of these issues at work, it’s time to fix it now.
I’m not saying you can’t succeed without the skill of helping other leaders grow, but your work will definitely get a lot easier when you figure this out.
Six Reasons Leaders Fail to Help Other Leaders Blossom
- They fail to recognize leadership qualities because they are foreign to the way they do things.
- They don’t prioritize time to develop other leaders.
- Some may perceive a threat to their own agenda, and thwart leadership development in those who may have fundamental differences of opinion.
- Some don’t see the necessity in grooming future generations of leaders while they are running organizations.
- Among the more paranoid leaders, there are those who are insecure in their power, who fear the light others shine because they want to appear smarter, more experienced or more powerful than others in the room.
- There are also those leaders who just don’t know how to nurture people whose ideas and methods are simply different from their own.
Of course, most people strive to be good leaders who inspire others to shine their best lights. In theory it just makes sense to build others up. (We’ll address the “How” in the next post.)
It’s easy to encourage leadership when you see yourself in a new leader or a junior employee. You relate to them. You recognize common attributes, and can advise and nurture their career trajectory because you know the ropes. You’ve probably made similar mistakes as the ones you see them making, or you recognize where potential opportunities lie.
With others, especially those who possess contrasting skills and styles, some leaders hold back from encouraging people who don’t share common qualities.
It’s difficult to appreciate, let alone go out of your way to develop leadership characteristics you don’t understand. You might even think that person’s a little crazy or inferior! Yet it’s important to get over that discomfort to elevate others around you.
Maybe you’re a natural, and your style integrates leadership abilities from a diverse group of people. For those who find themselves in positions of leadership and want to develop this important leadership quality in themselves, you’ll want to pay close attention…
A great leader nurtures leadership in others – even those who are different from themselves.
If you can identify leadership qualities in another person, which you yourself do not possess, then give yourself a point. You are the best kind of leader and are on your way to being a legend in your arena of influence.
How do you pick these people out? The first step is to identify someone who gets things done.
If you can rely on her to accomplish tasks within her basic job with grace and competence, then you can trust that she’s probably got a method that works very well for her.
Even if it’s not your style, and even if hers is not the process you prefer, it’s crucial to give rising leaders the freedom to do it their way.
In network marketing there is a well-known color code system developed by Tom (Big Al) Schreitner, created to help leaders identify four general personality types.
The colors cast a broad brush over the general population of people. The four personality types are far from the more nuanced, available personality tests, but the point is to help leaders quickly identify who they’re dealing with so they can be more effective in persuading others to act.
Recognizing what motivates others’ behavior – in this case, people/fun (blue), connection/causes (yellow), ambition/competition (red), and knowledge/organization (green) – is a good start to developing their leadership capabilities, even if their style is not your own.
Offer guidelines for how to operate, especially if they have worked well for you, but don’t crush someone’s natural tendency to accomplish tasks or goals in a way you don’t understand.
Instead, try to appeal to whatever motivates this person. Someone who challenges your natural modus operandi, probably has a distinct way of getting results. Try to understand what it is and how it serves that person well.
When you are able to step aside with grace and ease, you’re already on sure footing as a leader.
Stemming from a vibrant and honest sense of self, self confidence beams from people who have been through their own storms. I love working with people who are curious about, or who already know what makes them tick.
Someone who is eager to learn more about themselves and others has already won half the battle.
The ability to accept diversity and find beauty in others comes from a place of grounding and inner strength.
A leader’s inner strength comes from self confidence.
You know yourself well, and you know what makes you a pro. You also know what you lack. Honesty is a hallmark of good leadership.
It’s also the core quality that enables you to bring other leaders up in your organization.
Younger, inexperienced team members are often wrapped up in a “look at me” mindset. They want to show off how their way of doing things is the best way. A less experienced worker is trying to discover what works for her so she can kick butt in her job. No judgment there.
But eventually you learn what works for you… and you move on from there. You start to notice that other people also get things done. And if you’re a natural leader, you’re impressed by that.
In a professional environment, I’ve seen leaders dismiss others as incompetent, because they don’t do things their way. But this almost always backfires. Diversity is the secret sauce of powerful teams. When you help other leaders blossom, you show your ability to truly lead from the heart.
Savvy leaders see greatness and opportunity where lesser leaders see problems.
When your initial gut reaction is to note a contrasting behavior or quality that feels like a problem to you, in reality it could be the perfect chance to explore and develop another leader’s skill which your team desperately needs.
As you learn to be honest about your personal skills and strengths, this foundational work enables you appreciate leadership qualities in people who are often very different from you. A real leader knows that she isn’t the only fish in the pond – nor even the best fish in the pond.
A leader always keeps an eye out for remarkable leadership skills in others, especially the ones she doesn’t totally understand.
Don’t fear people who are different. Consider yourself lucky to have them on your team. Train them, listen to them, promote them, and find ways to help them thrive.
Are you ready to pay your leadership forward in your business? Let’s talk!