Thursday, February 5, 2009

Build Leadership Within

Leadership is a critical resource and factor within organizations! We understand this intuitively, but to be specific, leaders set vision, provide direction, motivate others to perform, and meet goals. However the most important thing really GOOD leaders do is to build more leadership within their organizations. This is so important because it creates energy, ideas and leverage with which to create and build which can't be created any other way.

If you have only one leader in an organization, you have one vision, one set of ideas, and leadership capacity which is only as great as the single leader. Now imagine building a team of leaders from within the organization, how the leverage would expand and grow the organization exponentially. I heard Harvey Mackay say that if I give you a dollar and you give me a dollar, we each have a dollar. However, if I give you an idea and you give me one also we each have TWO ideas. That is the power of leverage.

So how do you build and nurture leaders? Start with helping the new leaders build a vision for themselves. Build a scenario based on their capabilities to show them where they could go within your organization and them show them that you not only have the confidence in their ability but are prepared to invest in it to help them get there. To illustrate, I recently had a conversation with my Executive Assistant related to areas she needed to improve but I also talked about where I could picture her in our organization down the road. When I talked about her being like an orchestra leader helping her Executive Team be more productive she got it right away. She has a family member who leads a band. The metaphor was very powerful.

Help your potential leaders grow into their new "leadership" skin by giving them credit for everything they do. Many leaders take other's ideas and make them their own without acknowledging the good work of the team. That will only last so long before people start withholding their ideas. Giving people credit also helps them develop confidence in their capacity to lead as it takes great confidence to risk your reputation by throwing out an idea or trying something untried and unproven. Change is very scary for most people. We need to develop their ability to think outside the box.

Lastly, start including your new leadership team in your words and conversations. "We" is a very powerful word, while "I" is very deflating. Once your new leaders begin feeling and acting like the true leaders they are becoming, your organization will now have a significantly increased "leadership capacity" with which to carry out the vision of the leader who started it all.

Who could be helping you grow your company or organization?

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