by Chris Widener
Extraordinary Leaders are those who understand that in order for the organization to grow and make the maximum impact that it can, the leadership base in the organization must grow first and grow strong enough to hold the growth. If this does not happen, the organization will either not grow or will grow and then crumble because there is no solid foundation of leadership. The effort to multiply leadership must be ongoing and purposeful.
Here are some ways to get your leadership base growing strong and wide!
1. Get Current Titled Leaders Growing in the Right Direction. If you want to increase the level and effectiveness of your leadership right now, then the first thing you should do is start with those who already have a title of leadership. You will find that many of the people you have as “leaders” really aren’t leaders at all so you have your work cut out for you! Sit down with your leadership team and let them know that you are going to be pushing them to grow in the area of leadership. It is imperative that the titled leaders get on board. If they don’t or won’t, then they have to go. No effective organization can continue with dead weight in leadership positions
2. Establish a Plan of Action for Leadership Development. Once you have decided to move forward with leadership development, you need a plan. I would suggest a one-year plan of reading and activities. I am currently taking a group of 17 people through a 12-month (one meeting per month) plan of leadership development. Each person has to read the required book for the month. Each person takes responsibility in a given area. Each person will give a verbal presentation to the rest of the group on an aspect of leadership. They are accountable to another person in the group for their development. This is the plan of action. If you need help setting this up, feel free to contact me and I can help.
3. Identify Untitled Leaders. You also want to identify the leaders you have who may not necessarily have a title of leadership. Know this though, they are leading! They are influencing the direction of your company or organization. They are leading and influencing others. Find out who they are and invite them into the official leadership process. How do you find these? Here are a few ways: Notice at your meetings who the other people look to for their opinion. That is the leader. Ask people who they think has leadership potential. A few names will come up over and over. They are your leaders. Ask people to tell you who has the most influence outside of the titled leaders. Again, a few names will come up over and over. They are your leaders. Now, get them on board with you!
4. Develop a Culture of Leadership. Call your leadership development group something like “Emerging Leaders.” Get t-shirts made up. Have special events for them. Get them involved. Honor their commitment and growth. Above all, let it be known throughout the organization that you value leadership development and you are willing to invest in people that way. Not only will you invest in them, but you will honor them and make it fun too!
5. Enable Leadership Attempts: Let them Try, Let Them Fail. This is where most groups fail. They will let people try, but they won’t let them fail. Once they fail, they take responsibility away from them again. Leadership development must be a long-term commitment and this means you will have to put up with some short-term failures. As you do, the leaders you are investing in will be growing and learning how to do it right in the long run. Those are the people who will grow your organization for years.
6. Establish Mentoring: Watch Me Do, Do with Me, Do Alone, Teach Another. Get the current leaders to teach the newer leaders. Have them take people along to do their everyday activities. Invest time in them, developing the relationship while they see how it is done. Then let them do some of the work themselves while you are there. As that gets better, then it is time to let them do it by themselves. Tell them you can’t make it that day but they can go make the meeting without you. Once they have mastered the task, have them turn around and mentor others. This way you are developing more and more layers of competent, Extraordinary Leaders!
7. Show the Benefits: Both Individual and Corporate. The fact is that people will do those things tat will bring them benefits and rewards so go all out to show them what they will get from it as individuals and as a group. Show them that leadership development will help them make more money, have better relationships with co-workers and have better job satisfaction. Show them that leadership development will show itself in all areas of their lives, not just at work. Show them how the whole organization will grow, become more efficient, accomplish the goals they have established and really make a difference in the world around them. Show them the benefits and you will get their hearts for leadership!
Chris Widener is a popular speaker and author who has shared the podium with US Presidents, helping individuals and organizations succeed in every area of their lives and achieve their dreams.
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