Susan’s Mazza’s post, “5 Ideas to Help You Cultivate Leadership,” got me thinking about the immediate boss’s role in leadership development. Here’s the kernel of Susan’s post that started the train of thought.
“The ultimate sign of an effective leader is that they are cultivating leadership in others. Sometimes this happens naturally. Yet, more often than not, if you want to cultivate leadership, you need to be intentional.”
Read Susan’s post for the five things she thinks a leader should do to develop leadership in others. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject.
Leadership development happens best on the job
We learn best when we’re meeting new challenges and have the resources to learn how to meet them well. “Resources” means more than learning materials. Resources include time, budget, and a boss who will help you learn. If you’re a leader, part of your job is to help your teammates succeed and develop.
Leadership development on the job means walking the talk
The best leadership development is the good example you set. I learned a lot about what not to do from my worst boss ever, but nothing he did helped me learn what to do instead. You don’t have a choice about whether to set the example, that comes with the job, but you do have a choice about the example you set.
Leadership development on the job means talking the walk
Setting a good example is not enough. You have to be able to describe what you’re thinking and doing and why. That’s why you should master coaching skills. Google’s research identified coaching as the most important behavior of great managers.
Leadership development on the job means letting go
If you want the developing leaders on your team to grow, you have to let them go. Set them free to make the inevitable mistakes that go with learning and you can unleash their leadership power.