7 Steps to Developing Leaders
Try to tap into untapped energy that may be lying dormant for lack of
interest or challenge to motivate people 'this is a key to finding and
developing new leaders. Remember that rising through the ranks does not
guarantee qualities needed for a leading role. Seek out those who have
a natural style to attract people to them. These are your true leaders
as others will follow suggestions and directions from these people more
willingly. Be a mentor and help them break through corporate or
self-established barriers to more freedom and success for all, including
1. Look beyond a person's title to their sphere of influence. Some
people are in leadership roles and we wonder how and why. When looking
to develop leaders, look to those who demonstrate a strong set of skills
in work quality, ability to get along with others at all levels, and who
seem to naturally command respect. These people are frequently not
obvious to managers because they don't look for them in outside where
they "expect" to discover them. As a result, those skills and talents
are often greatly under utilized. These potential leaders need to be
nourished because they often don't see themselves in that role either.
2. Discover personal interests of the people you are working with. Show
you care about them as individuals. This does not mean being nosy but
instead attentive and caring about their progress personally and
professionally. Don't just do this during a review period or when you
need something. Practicing this habit is necessary all year round to
develop a good relationship with those you interact with. You don't
have to be their friend, but it never hurt anybody to be friendly and to
offer encouragement and a pinpointed remark to help develop good
communication and camaraderie.
3. In conjunction with your employee, co-worker, or other team members,
set up short-term and long-term goals you can each live with. You may
not be in agreement on all points but as long as you each see the
benefit, then it's easier to live with the steps in between. I believe
that an important element in this procedure is to act as mentors and
role models for each other. That's right 'each other. Leaders need to
be reminded of who is accomplishing the day-to-day operation of any
enterprise. Provide guidelines, the understanding of why something is
being done in a certain way, and on-going support.
4. Encourage additional training through classes and seminars. This
does not mean forcing people to go to something in which they have no
interest or where they see no benefit in attending. Even if they learn
the material, they probably won't accept it or practice it. Discover
where their interests are and find a way to tie it in to their job.
When possible, help with the financing of books or courses -
particularly when the learning takes place on personal time.
5. Development of a person's mind and character is largely dependent on
being encouraged and allowed to try and fail 'without recrimination.
As long as trials are conducted with the best of intentions and are not
deliberate sabotage tests, then it's important to let people use their
imagination to experiment. It's often the larger part of the learning
process. Anyone who is successful can recount all the errors, mistakes,
and failings they incurred but they also will tell you that those
stepping stones ultimately led to the I DID IT !point. When success is
the result 'be sure to privately and publicly praise the overall effort
and the win.
6. Switch routine tasks between members of a team. Most people have
more knowledge, talents, skills, and expertise than they realize.
Developing these through hands-on work and testing the brain in
different scenarios is healthy for the individual and the group. On top
of that, boredom and frustration is not as likely to set in as new
opportunities are opened up and learned. It also allows others to
better understand the importance of the various roles in an
7. Think outside and beyond the box. Actually, all of the above points
lead to this one. Here's more. Try something new every month. Treat
each new assignment or task as a turnaround situation 'even if it's
not. This creative thinking process could lead to a breakthrough
somewhere else. Encourage volunteering on business time; the change in
environment and tasks can arouse new thought patterns and establish
goodwill with the person involved and the community at large. Aspiring
leaders would enjoy the opportunity to stretch their capabilities and
demonstrate their skills.
Practicing even just a few of the above ideas will lead to more
productivity, a higher level of effectiveness, and a happier work
group. Another success and win-win situation.
About the Author
(c)2003 Virginia Reeves OK to reprint.
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