If you look at the publicly reinforced version of a leader, leaders and owners are supposed to know everything. They are supposed to create a vision and tell people how to get to the destination. They are supposed to take care of everyone and fix problems…the list goes on and on. Our experience at Applied Vision Works over the last 26 years, and especially the last few years, is that a leader that does this is going to have a major problem.
They are going to hit a wall and there is no way around. Worse yet, they will take advantage of an opportunity that is too big and it will ruin the organization or even take it down. Or, the organization will come up against a major obstacle that results in permanent damage.
It is very valuable for a leader to have the capacity to be a “traditional leader”. Being able to think through issues, drive action and persist against all odds is useful. Sometimes we think of this as the George S. Patton approach to leadership. Steve Jobs is another example of someone that was brilliant in using people to drive unique product development that creates entirely new markets. We could go on and on with examples, but these views also have a tendency to be very surface and simplistic. Many of these views have the Hollywood persona attached to them.
What really happens with these leaders is actually very different if you study the reality of how great results are achieved, especially over a long period. When a building is burning down, actions being driven by a strong personality are absolutely necessary given the crisis. The “fire captain” is clearly in charge and gives orders in this situation. Getting organizational results over time is different. In studying hundreds of biographies and having the opportunity to be with people that have accomplished great things in extremely difficult personal and business circumstances, these strong leaders all had very strong people around them.
Too many leaders have a tendency to want to lead all the time, however, the reality is that most leaders can develop their team by being a follower at times. By being a follower, a need is created for the followers to step up as leaders. By asking questions rather than giving the answers, a need is created for followers to search for and prioritize answers.
All of the training, teaching and coaching will do very little for creating leadership in other parts of your organization unless you create a need for others to have to step up. As that need is created, the training, teaching and coaching then becomes valuable as it is applied to real situations and the followers have a reason to become leaders.
The other dynamic it causes is that the followers must do more of the thinking, decision making and doing. Early on, leaders may need to be ready to step in, but as followers increase their capabilities, the leader is freed up to be more strategic. Great followers love the opportunity it provides them to learn, influence and be creative. Time and again we see this as our clients create a need for teamwork and leadership from other parts of the organization.
In application of this principle, we have never failed to see a team step up and become several times more effective. It is also a surprise sometimes that some of those we thought would be good natural leaders choose not to lead. Invariably, we also end up spotting those we thought might not be the best leaders stepping up to the challenge and doing a great job. It is hard to know what is inside someone until they are faced with that real world challenge.
Below are a few tactical examples to start the process:
All of the above cases are tactical tools for following that causes leadership, as well as many other skills, to develop within a team.
The Comprehensive Independence Builder
If you are interested in learning more about tools for leaders to build other leaders which results in better results and better lives, contact us 800-786-4332, or Info@AppliedVisionWorks.com.
You may also wish to learn more about our unique process for leaders called The Comprehensive Independence BuilderTM, in which we address all of the obstacles you face and help you use innovative strategies to protect and enhance your organization, improve your quality of life, and better achieve your goals.
Applied Vision Works – One Vision. One Voice. Unlimited Success.