How Top Leaders Develop Others by Cindy Stradling CSL, CPC

A key difference between a good leader and a great leader is their ability to help others succeed. A good leader may create success in a team, department, organization, or company, but they see that success as their own. They hold the opportunity and the knowledge, attempting to put themselves in the elite position of being able to manage.

The great leaders, on the other hand, strive to help others to become influential leaders. They make their leadership about spreading knowledge and experience and elevating those around them. They are concerned about the success of the team, department, organization, or company, but not for their personal legacy. They are interested in success as it creates the potential for ongoing growth and expansion with new leaders moving up through the ranks.

There are some key strategies that leaders with a focus on the development of others use on a regular basis. These strategies are the foundation of building a deep bench for succession planning and creating leaders from within a company that understand the mission, philosophy, and the short and long-term goals of the business.

Give Opportunities for Success

Leaders that build others look for opportunities for team members to have success in new opportunities. This is different than simply providing opportunities; it is carefully matching the individual to the project or role to ensure success.

It is also about providing mentorship that adds support without micromanaging or managing the project from the sidelines. Leaders who are open to mentoring and coaching team members to create clarity and understanding while still building autonomy provide the opportunity to take on challenges and be successful.

Public Recognition  

Providing public recognition to the team or individuals who have added to a project or helped out in some way is a simple and effective way to build up leadership competence in an organization.

When leaders are willing to step aside and give praise and recognition to the team, it sends a message to others in the organization. It also encourages and inspires team members to be creative, make suggestions, and see themselves as a vital part of the project’s success. These are all ways to build competence in future leaders.

Focus on Communication and Professional Growth

One of the most critical components of building others into leaders is to provide training and focus on more than the business side of the company. Provide opportunities for team members to participate in professional development opportunities, leadership coaching, and training that is focused on communication, collaboration, and continuous improvement of their own skills. This is a lifelong journey for all successful leaders. Providing this to others in the organization offers a real advantage for building these skills early in their careers.