Leadership is the least developed and most important skill in organizations today. It's a huge problem. I've personally felt and experienced its effects in both large and small organizations. A lack of leadership and leaders in organizations holds back change, slows innovation, reduces agility, ensures low employee engagement and thus customer relationships and satisfaction with your organization.
So unless you as an organizational leader can specifically point to what you're doing to naturally and sustainably grow leaders, chances are you may need to make it a priority.
The first thing to realize is that the way you run your organization is the single greatest factor on growing leaders within your organization.
Companies that go and find, court and hire the most talented leaders they can and then tie their hands in trying to make things better are squandering resources. It would be like buying the latest iPhone yet and keeping it the box.
As the world get smaller, faster and more complex new skills are needed.
That's why leadership is becoming so much more critical than ever before.
This diagram shows some of the themes of mindset shifts that organizations are needing to go through to become more relevant today and into the future. The future mindsets all require really effective leadership based on trust, cooperation and a belief that people are inherently good versus a controlling micro-management approach that looks at and uses people as a means to an end.
Foundationally you have to make the environment safe first. Simon Sinek talks about this. The model he designed to illustrate his point is called the Circle of Safety. In order for people to take risks, take initiative, embrace change and trust their leaders they must feel safe.
Leadership is about people. Taking care of the them. Bringing out their best. Bringing people together towards a common cause.
Leadership development is like any other training or development. In order for some to learn well and attain mastery, they have to feel safe to try, safe to take risks and safe to fail and learn from it.
Safety is critical. So choose your words carefully, celebrate risk taking and failure for the sake of learning and growing and you will be off to the right start.
Push Down the Power
It can be scary to pass power to someone else. But you need your leaders to lead, to take initiative, advance your cause, take care of your people. That requires decision making which ultimately requires the power to make those decisions.
The best way to create active, engaged, responsible, initiative-taking leaders of the future is to give them power and responsible for decisions and outcomes as much as is possible.
Like I mentioned before leadership is about inspiring and motivating people to achieve personal and collective success and flourishing. So just teach that.
Drop mic, done.
Kidding. There's definitely more to it than that. However it is just that simple and that difficult.
Important people manager and leader skills include:
empathy and humility
vision and goal setting
Maybe you already have leaders that are great at these skills in house and the can design and teach courses based on their skill and mastery to other future leaders.
Or if you don't have that skill in house, you can always bring in a trainer or send them to targeted training. Online courses can work for basic theoretical understanding of concepts but since leadership is about people the best training really needs to involve people.
Average organizations give their people something to work on. Great organizations give their people something to work toward.