You want to equip and inspire the leaders on your team and attract more leaders, but you have limited resources, and you’re not always sure who you should choose. After all leadership is not always about having the best brain, perfect personality … or the squeakiest wheel . So, let’s take a step back, stop looking for the most obvious “leaders” on your team and consider how to help every member of your team learn to think like a leader.
“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. They are made by hard effort, which is the price which all of us must pay to achieve any goal which is worthwhile.” -Vince Lombardi
This is the step too many business leaders skip. Focusing only or primarily on finding “natural leaders” on your team puts the cart before the horse. When you handpick leaders based on arbitrary criteria, you may elevate certain members of your team because they’re good at their job. You may also give leadership responsibility to people who aren’t ready for it. But when you equip everyone on your team with the personal leadership tools best designed to help them maximize their potential, you add value across your organization, allowing each individual to increase their own contribution to the shared cause.
“The Law of the Lid: Your leadership potential determines your level of effectiveness…”
– John Maxwell
Some members of your team might resist this initiative. There could be several reasons for this. Maybe they’re not ready. Maybe they’re comfortable doing their job and just want to be left alone to complete a checklist. Maybe they’re not teachable or coachable. Be careful assigning these motivations carelessly. Talk to your people – connect with them.. Ask questions without assumption. Learn their motivation. Respond with understanding, not assumption.
Once you’re informed—act.
Too often, employers hire too quickly and fire too slowly. Take the time to find the right people, and get the right perspective on the people you already have. Get the right people on the right seats on the bus. If they’re not the right people, part ways sooner rather than later.
Let me share a personal story about this…
Once, I was working with a person who just wasn’t “happy” in their work. After asking some questions and listening to their answers, they realized its was their attitude about their job and the people there that was making them miserable. I made a simple suggestion: “If you can’t change your attitude, change your job.”
Delivered without malice or threat, this suggestion gave them the permission they needed to be honest with themselves. A few weeks later that person called me back to thank me, saying, “I realized it was not the job holding me back, it was my attitude about my job. I was unwilling to change my attitude about the work place dynamics , so I interviewed for several jobs until I found one that matched my values. Today, I LOVE my job!”
A few uncomfortable moments outside of their comfort zone allowed this person to find fulfilling work, and saved both them and their employer from a lengthy and frustrating process which would have ended with the same result: that person gone, and, likely, not on good terms.
Once you have buy-in from across your team, and you begin to equip and resource them to think like leaders, your best will naturally rise up to their leadership potential. Your team communication with become more effective, and, collectively, you will accomplish more with a higher level of excellence.
Make it a great day,
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