Leadership is more than being in charge and managing people. Leadership that separates good leaders from great leaders, is leadership that builds other leaders.
Good leaders, excel at motivating other people to do what they are asked. Good leaders, lead followers. If you want to build a company that is enduring, having good leaders is not enough. You must build a culture of leadership throughout your organization that cultivates great leaders.
The Culture of Leadership
In a company with a culture of leadership, all employees, not just those with "VP" or "Chief" in their titles, are expected to think and act like leaders. A culture of leadership happens in two ways.
First, every company executive is tasked with training, mentoring and nurturing their reports in how to be future corporate executive leaders. Second, every executive and manager is tasked with training their reports (which means every employee) how to act and think like a leader in their current roles.
Here's how you can tell the difference between an employee who has the mindset of a leader and one who does not. Two employees encounter a customer in the company lobby. The customer shares a problem they're having with a product of the company and neither employee knows the answer or even works in the relevant department.
An employee who does not have the mind of a leader will tell the customer "I don't know, that's not my department." An employee with the mind of the leader, will ask the customer for their contact information and hand off that customer to someone in the company who can help them.
By building an army of employees who are leaders, your company is on track to being a company that is "built to last," as Jim Collins writes in his namesake book.
So how can you nurture leaders in your company?
- Start with the right mindset. See your employee as who they can become with the right training and not as who they are today.
- Instead of telling an employee what to do, create their responsibilities and metrics of success with them.
- Leadership takes time to develop. You must invest your time to train employees to be leaders. You must also give them the space and time to make mistakes while they're on their way to being a leader.
Are you an employee who wants to be a leader in your company? Here are two things you can do.
First, don't listen to the voices in your head that are telling you that you cannot be a leader. Get rid of the head trash and commit to being a leader. The second step is to fully understand and live the corporate culture and philosophy of your company. If you're working for a great company, your newfound character of leadership will be noticed and you will be appropriately rewarded and recognized. At Infusionsoft, we live this culture of leadership development and frequently promote new leaders.
Are you ready to be a great leader? Remember, view your employees not as who they are, in their current job titles, but as who they can be with your leadership training and development.