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Managers Manage Processes – Leaders Develop Leaders

If we are not our developing future leaders, we are not leading.

Leaders - who are you? To answer this question, we must look at where we spend our time. Do we focus on processes or do we focus on people? Be careful. It is easy to get caught in the rut of focusing on processes, metrics and efficiencies. It is not that these things are unimportant. But, they are focused on the short-term. They keep us in a never-ending cycle of managing things quarter-to-quarter. While this can drive the bottom-line now, it is not developing the people who will lead the company into the future. While the management team is managing processes, the people we lead are languishing.

There is a tremendous need to develop leaders. It may be easier to simply manage the processes and maintain the status quo. And, we might be tempted to believe this would keep the leader’s team out of trouble in the short-term. But, what about long-term success?

The military has a very different approach to developing leaders. Everyone is responsible for developing somebody. The only person not responsible for developing someone is the Private who just completed Basic Training. After that, the Private First Class (PFC) is responsible for developing the Private. The Corporal develops the PFC. The Sergeant, the Corporal.

This continues all the way to the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Each leader is called to develop leaders. When someone gets promoted, moves to another job or retires—there is always someone trained and ready to fill their spot.

Yet, how many of us can share a story of a time in our own organizations when one person’s transition or role change triggers a frantic scramble to find a replacement? Nobody is prepared to step up, so the company hires someone from the outside.