Each of us, day to day, engage in a discovery process. In order to develop your team for growth, be aware of your discovery process as a leader of leaders and adapt to it.
To start, examine your role in your organization. Are you the only leader, the only person who provides direction or the final say? Does every decision ultimately come to you?
When you are this single ‘point of light’ – the only person who knows and can set the goals, direction, and plans for your organization – chances are great that there are other ‘lights’ who are not being developed and are not given the opportunity to engage in their own process of discovery. When properly cultivated, these people can shine their own light toward growth and opportunity, and your organization will be better and brighter for their contributions.
Great leaders have four steps they can take to encourage these lights to emerge.
- Teach, don’t direct. When you provide directions, you limit these upcoming leaders. They can’t lead or solve problems if you have mandated specific steps in advance. Teach them, and then give them the opportunity to apply what they have learned.
- Describe what needs to be done, but not how it is to be done. Let your team develop how they’ll meet the objectives, and then support their efforts. Give them the authority to plan and execute the tasks for which you’ve made them responsible.
- Create conditions for empowerment. Even if you can control everything, don’t. Every decision should not come to your office. Step back and delegate authority – don’t answer every email, don’t involve yourself in every meeting. Provide the opportunity for fledgling leaders to make decisions about how a task should be done.
- Look at potential, not just performance. Identify those traits that indicate someone has the potential to shine a brighter light within your organization. Underwriting and empowering these people enables you to have multiple beacons of light in your group, shining in the direction of growth and opportunity.
Recognizing your own discovery process and that of your team is a powerful step toward building a world-class culture for your organization.
Enjoy the journey!