The success of a leader is often measured by the number of followers. Unfortunately, this view of leadership is far overdue. It is of great importance in the present time for leaders to develop other leaders. In my opinion, the success of a leader can best be measured by the number of people he/she has trained to become leaders who actually made a difference.
The behavior of many managers ensures follow-up behavior
The behavior of a manager determines how an employee/protégé develops. Many managers are mainly busy developing followers instead of leaders because of their management. If the manager is primarily responsible for giving orders and checking the follow-up of orders, the employee will mainly become a follower. If the manager emphasizes his/her own responsibility, the chances are greater that the employee/protégé can develop into a leader. If you want people to become leaders, you should encourage them to take personal responsibility.
What do you need to do to develop leaders?
There are four very simple advices to develop leaders. Of course the practice is a bit more complex, but with these advices you have come a long way. These four recommendations are well applicable if you have to lead other managers as a manager, but also if you want to manage executive employees.
The main point of these recommendations is: Approach everyone as a potential leader and not as a follower.
• Advice 1. Make it very clear how big the “playground” is. To grow in leadership skills, an employee needs his own latitude. As long as it remains within this scope, you may not interfere. Within this room he/she can decide for himself/herself how he/she will deal with matters and how the goals will be realized.
• Advice 2. Determine goals that are greater than the employee/protégé can realize on his own. Because of this he/she is compelled to put together a team to realize this goal. In this way he/she is also encouraged to inspire others. This motivates to work together in an effective way.
• Advice 3. Set very tight time limits. Developing leaders means setting them challenging goals in a tight period of time. Make sure many think it is impossible in that time period. Time, however, is unyielding. A tight time limit therefore ensures creativity, dedication, perseverance and leadership.
• Advice 4. Ensure that growth takes place step by step and naturally. To develop leaders you need to step up the challenges on each of the three tips above. Start with a challenge that fits the level of the employee and expand the challenges step by step.
So, everyone has certain leadership competencies. In a company where these competences can develop, success is inevitable. That is why real leaders will provide more leaders and not more followers. How many leaders did you develop?