A good leader isn’t the one that sings hymns to his or her very own outstanding leadership abilities, but the one who sees leadership potential in others and starts nurturing it. The “old” generation of leaders, be them managers, HR specialists, trainers and consultants, but managers especially, do a great job when they train, teach and help develop the “new” generation of future leaders, strong, powerful, smart men and women able to run successful business and become role models for employees and even competitors. In a very recent article published by Tim Sackett, a human resources expert with more than 20 years in recruitment, and bluntly called 5 Crippling HR Behaviors That Keep Employees From Becoming Leaders draws the current pool of leaders’ attention on the mistakes they make when nurturing new leaders.
Do the veterans actually want to breed other leaders? Are they not afraid of being replaced, boycotted, and eliminated? Maybe some are, but in an utopian world, where the greater good of the company and the human resources overcomes the petty ambitions for power and privilege of some leaders, somebody has to take the responsibility to grow a better, stronger generation. Not many experts know how to breed other leaders, but this doesn’t mean they can’t learn.
Browsing Sackett’s article, one can only find enlightenment and sense, as the expert doesn’t talk about complicated actions to be taken, but about every day, conscious or unconscious behaviors that prevent talented employees to reach their full potential. According to Derek Good from Improve Staff, there are four major areas a good leader should focus on in order to become a role model for his team and stir the team towards excellence. This is basically like teaching a subject in a classroom: the greatest reward for a teacher is when the pupil gets even better than the teacher, but this one should perform flawlessly.
Risks and mistakes shaped the world and they should not be prevented
One of the first rules identified by Good is that a good leader nurturing future leaders is the one how gives good directions. This has nothing to do with giving directives, let’s be clear. Directions mean promoting the flow of information, good communication, resonating with the common goals and objectives, orientation towards results and team work, shattering doubts and fears and letting the employees grow as independent, discerning people, able to assume risks and intervene with original solutions.
How to breed other leaders? Or how not to breed them, is the question
Not letting people to take risks is one of those crippling behavior Sackett described as an obstacle leaders place in front of their employees. Desperate to not make mistakes, lose money or waste time, managers prefer sometimes the old beaten paths, the standard recipes and the predictable results instead of letting the employees take risks and learn from their mistakes. Not allowing mistakes is another issue Sackett is talking about and it makes even more sense if we think about that the major discoveries and progress of this world are based to an extent to people’s mistakes and risks taken, as well as the lessons they learned after getting burnt. Sackett says “If we never allow our future leaders to experience risk, they’ll fail when they finally face it, or will be unwilling to face it, thus missing out on huge opportunities for your organization.” Moreover, managers often “have this false sense that ‘great’ leaders won’t allow their employees to fail, so we step in quickly when we see things going south”.
How can a good leader turn a momentarily failure into a long – term success for the next generation of leaders? Monitoring and coaching seem to be the most favored solutions by all experts. Besides measuring performance, a good leader should measure an employee’s behavior, motivation to success, adaptability and talent. Coaching future leaders is not easy feat, but the leaders who are also good coaches have an increased chance of getting the best results for the company and a team of future leaders ready to manage properly, assertively and efficiently any professional situation. Learning the secrets on how to breed other leaders will actually add – up to a leader’s skills and knowledge. Besides the usual behaviors a leader should employ and promote, like recognition, rewarding, honesty and respect, nurturing new leaders is both a personal and a professional achievement one must accomplish throughout their career.