L.E.A.D. - Lift, Empower, Applaud, Demonstrate
Leading can be pushing (or pulling) someone along who may not be fully equipped to follow. That can be stressful for everyone involved. Often this happens when a leader recognizes something promising in an individual and attempts to nurture it with additional responsibility and opportunity to step into leadership. This is great BUT it’s only speaking to that one promising part of the potential leader in question. Failing to factor in their personal challenges, self-doubt and hesitation may make the endeavor more of a struggle.
Effective leadership can bring someone along AND speak directly to what they feel may be holding them back (as opposed to glossing over it).
So, what does effective and holistic leading look like?
Good news! I’ve got an acronym for you. Remember to L.E.A.D.
LIFT - Be clear. Express that your desire to cultivate leadership in someone is a response to something great you recognize in them. Often, that is clear to seasoned leaders but they may not go as far as to state it outright. Even in a corporate setting, making this clear can often encourage someone to lean into leadership simply because they know they are being rooted for and not set up to fail. The sooner you can help root out the self-doubt that is likely to rise in anyone stepping into a new and challenging space, the better.
EMPOWER - Before you ask a new leader to lead, be sure to equip them with every tool they will need to 1) perform the tasks they need to accomplish well and 2) develop increased leadership skills as they rise to the new tasks or project. This can be a checklist, guidelines or an SOP for the tasks . . . and a mentor or open line of communication with management for the leadership skills.
Ask yourself, “What did I need most as a new leader in this position?”
APPLAUD - Think about young children. When they are learning to walk or or read we don’t see clapping for them as superfluous. It’s a necessary part of the process. It signals to them the things they are doing correctly, so that they can learn to do more of that. In the same way, find creative ways to “clap for” your new leaders as you bring them along. Clapping in private settings will instill a genuine sense of self-pride, while clapping in front of others will create a culture where your team feels leadership, and growth are valued & rewarded . . . even if steps are incremental.
DEMONSTRATE - Lastly, remember that show & tell go together. Written documentation is helpful and needed. It is, however, no substitute for a good old-fashioned, apprentice style walk through. Use the technology available to you for a modern approach with the same results. Schedule a live webinar or create a series of video tutorials. The time you invest in showing someone the right way to do something will save you exponentially more time that you’d be out having to clean up something that went wrong. Avoid that with proper training up front. You’ll be glad you did.
All of these methods will help decrease any friction, so that the road to leadership has less of that pushing and pulling we were talking about. The L.E.A.D. approach will help your journey be smooth and successful.
Join a group of leaders this week as we challenge ourselves and sharpen our leadership skills. We are all doing the L.E.A.D CHALLENGE. click here to join us