“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.” ~ Tom Peters
Are you in a leadership position? Did anyone on your team or being mentored by you get promoted last year? Is anyone who interacts with you growing at the same rate or greater than you are? My goal for 2015 is to develop more leaders and to accelerate their development.
So thinking what I could do to make 2015 the best year for developing leaders, I thought of 5 attitudes I need to work on. Maybe these will help you too.
Attitude 1: Accept responsibility for your team. Stop complaining about your people. They don’t want to fall short of expectations. They want to be depended upon. Your best people want to be dependable. They want the opportunity to have more responsibility. Let them. If you want your people to lead more, give them opportunities. Stop fixing things for them and stop telling them what to do. Don’t choose a side. Let people work things out. Don’t let anyone bring you a problem without also bringing a solution. Make this the year that you encourage them to be more than they’ve ever been.
Attitude 2: Get clear about the vision. I believe if everyone knows and values the same things, they make the same choices. So share the goals and the constraints early and often. Collaborate if you can (and you always can). Ask others for input and help them taste and smell a successful future too. Focus on the future and not on the past. Believe your people will exceed even your own expectations. Often, when people make poor choices, you’ll find they were solving for a different problem. They thought something else was more important than the vision. Or they were more concerned about avoiding criticism. Encourage them to attempt to solve for the highest goal all the time and adjust the training and your coaching based on individual circumstances.
Attitude 3: Tolerate some chaos. Give people the opportunity to fail. Mistakes are a given but there are 2 types: problem mistakes and operational mistakes. Problem mistakes are either repeat mistakes or a result of self-protection or laziness. Operational mistake are honest first-time mistakes. If the team member accepts the responsibility and makes the call, aiming for what they understood was the highest and best team objective, then an operational mistake is the leaders responsibility. Take responsibility and make it right. The chaos comes from how people misunderstand you. Work to clear up the misunderstandings and the chaos will become more tolerable.
Attitude 4: Align opportunities with strengths. Frequent operational mistakes may happen because you’ve got people working in areas of weakness. Wherever possible take the time to understand your team and put them in a position to succeed. Give them a DISC or Strengths Finder and know their strengths. When people get to succeed doing what they enjoy, that success doubles their motivation and increases their energy and brings life to the team. Energized team members push through problems and overcome obstacles. Your team becomes more engaged and more energized when the team’s objectives also meet their personal objectives.
Attitude 5: Attack the elephant. Often the elephant in the room (or on the team) is the consistent poor performer. No matter what you do, you can’t find a role where they bring energy. Everyone seems drained as they interact with them. At best, they are simply someone to be avoided. At worst, they act like a ringleader, sucking people into their energy drain.
You still must put them in a position to succeed, too. That may mean a very unpleasant review or series of reviews. It may even mean helping them find someplace else to work. Helping them become a good performer is in their best interest. No one wants a job where they’re not appreciated. Be fair and do everything you can to help them succeed, but when all else fails, help them find some other place to play. I’ve seen many times that when you do this, everyone on your team may perform better as a result.
Your attitude and your commitment are key to your team’s success. Believe in them, commit to their success and you’ll become the leader they need you to be; one who develops them and helps them move along in their career.
These are not the only attitudes, but they’re my keys for 2015.
What are yours? Comment below and share your ideas too. We can all use the help.
Mike Henry Sr.,(@mikehenrysr), is the founding instigator of the Lead Change Group, where they’re instigating a leadership revolution. He’s also a co-author of “The Character-Based Leader by the Lead Change Group.”
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