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.
If we are not developing future leaders, we are not leading.
It is short-sighted for us to lose focus on developing others. We must have the Courage to get off the hamster wheel of month-to-month and quarter-to-quarter managing, and instead look at the long-term health of the organization. Does this require a time commitment and investment? Absolutely. Yet, it also creates buy-in and loyalty that pushes teams towards long-term success—both professionally and personally.
Numerous authors have addressed the difference between a manager and a leader. Yet, I find they are not mutually exclusive titles. The most effective leaders are adept at both management and leadership. Why? Because leaders must be able to both manage processes and also develop people. I would encourage each of us to avoid settling for only accomplishing the management side of our jobs.
Take the time today to identify who you can develop. Next, allocate time each day and each week to develop them. That time will change your team and your organization for the long-term.
In the end, nobody on our teams will ever remember how our numbers looked in 2Q - 2020. But they will remember how we helped them reach their potential and become leaders themselves.
Dig Deep Questions:
How much time do you spend focused on the development of future leaders?
Who could you start developing this week?
Making a shift towards taking responsibility and living with Courage is a lifelong journey. We want to partner with you as you practice the habit of Courage daily, which is why we have created our Habits of Character Action Guides.
The Courage Action Guide offers you a month of daily, interactive training complete with a daily reading, dig deep questions, weekly processing guides and instructions on how to use the guide both individually and with your team. The Courage Action Guide is now available here.
We are behind you, championing for you, your teams and your organizations as you become the leader you wish you had. We want to come alongside you as you grow to confidently answer “yes” to the question, “Would you follow you?”