I was reminded today that central to my work is developing people.
As a leader, developing people isn’t one of many things on the list of the things that we do… it is the list. Our greatest good and value to the organization is increasing its leadership quotient. Without leaders organizations drift and die; with leaders anything is possible. Developing leaders is not one good thing among many, it is the thing we must be about.
Think about it: At the heart of the work that Christ did was His work in developing 12 men. While the work of redeeming the world back to God was always at the forefront of His ministry and His mind, it was always done within the context of equipping these men to continue the work long after He was gone.
A leaders job is not to do the work; rather, a leaders greatest work is to ensure that the work keeps going long after we are gone. One is focused on a product, the other is focused on people.
Robert Gross, former president of Lockheed Aircraft Corporation, once shared:
“It’s one thing to build a product; it’s another thing to build a company, because companies are nothing but men, and the things that come out of them are no better than the people themselves. We do not build automobiles, airplanes, refrigerators, radios, or shoestrings. We build men. The men build the product.”
Our job is to develop people. Disciples. Leaders. Incarnate Jesus-replica’s. If we do that, we change the world. But if at the end of the day we haven’t influenced and developed people then we have done nothing worth replicating and, certainly, nothing worth celebrating.
A SIMPLE STARTING POINT
Often times the best starting point is the simplest one. When it comes to developing an emerging leader within your organization start by answering one simple question:
- What ONE task can I hand off to ONE emerging leader within my organization?
Once you’ve thought of something you need to let go, ask yourself:
- What expectations do I make clear on the front end?
- How will I come around them with coaching on the back end?
HONOR SOMEONE BY ASKING
Don’t be sheepish in asking someone to step up and take on a new challenge – even if it doesn’t fall within their job description. Honor an employee by believing in them enough to ask them to do something that you think they can do even if its above their pay grade. Think about it: when a senior leader once asked you to take on a new challenge, you considered it an honor. You were flattered that they thought of you; you were honored that they believed in you. And what did that honor do? It made you work crazy hard to prove to them not only that you could do it… but also that they were right to have asked you.
So honor someone in your organization by asking them to rise to the challenge. Give away some work. Let someone try. Coach them if they fail. See them spread their wings and fill with confidence because you asked THEM!
If you want to change the world, develop the people around you.