Helping Others Lead

One of the greatest things you could ever do for another person is help them learn how to lead well. All the studies show that career advancement (either as an employer or employee) is directly related to leadership skills. A small percentage seek out leadership roles, but the vast majority have real concerns that they could ever be a good leader.
They can lead
There continues to be perpetuated the myth that leaders are born, not made. Don’t get me wrong, there is no doubt that some people naturally lead better than others. From childhood on, some are natural influencers. But, the research is in and it is no longer in dispute; just about everyone can learn to be a good to great leader. Even the “naturals” can improve and need to improve if they want to reach their potential. The reality is, a person dedicated to improving their leadership skills can surpass a natural leader in their impact, if the natural doesn’t keep growing.
Genius and mastery are a combination of talent and practice; not just talent. People with phenomenal talent can be better than most with little practice; but no one excels or rises to the top of any field without passion and the great effort it produces. Everyone can and should improve their leadership if they will commit to learning and practicing.
Help them overcome their fear
People need to, and can, learn to overcome their fear of leadership and become very good if not great at it. I have seen it happen in hundreds of cases because when leadership is clearly described and simply taught, everyone can grasp it and everyone can do it (at least at a small group level).
Develop people to grow
If you are the senior leader, the owner, the president, pastor, or a CEO, the success of your cause is directly related not only to the quality of your leadership but the quality of those who work with you. We all know it is the person who interacts with the customer, potential client, or church visitor who plays a very important role in furthering the relationship. All it takes is one bad experience with a 1st contact person to lose them forever. Ken Blanchard uses the phrase “ducks and eagles.” Ducks don’t think, they just quack out the company line. Ducks quack, “We can’t do that because it’s not our policy.” Just last week, national news reported the story of an 87 year old woman who had a heart attack at a nursing home/facility. An employee of the nursing home called 911. The 911 operator asked if CPR was being administered to the person under duress. The employee said “no, it is not part of our policy.” The 911 operator begged her or someone to administer CPR and even offered to walk them through it. The woman quacked back, “not our policy” and would not do it. Unbelievable. You don’t want a team of ducks, you want a team of eagles who have been trained to think and lead.
Compare that to the legendary service of Zappos shoes. They are trained to do whatever it takes to take care of their customer and they do a great job of it. My wife and I experienced this firsthand. Somehow, in the process of ordering shoes, Janet shared with the Zappos rep that her mother had recently passed away. A few days later she got flowers from Zappos shoes. Do you think that made an impression? Do you think we will talk about that to friends and family? Do you think I might mention it in a book? That is the opposite of a “duck” mentality; that is “eagle” all the way.
Keep it as simple as you can
To stay on track as a leader and to help people overcome their fear of leadership and actually lead well, the main concepts of leadership need to be made simple and memorable. There is a reason we say our “ABC’s” and not our “ABCDEFG’s”. Most of us need clear, simple, easy to remember main categories to function well. Two slogans I use when thinking through teaching materials are:
“3 to 5 Keeps it Alive” and
“No more than 7 This Side of Heaven”
I am a big, big believer in keeping things as simple as possible for everyone (that includes executives), but especially for those considering or just stepping into a leadership role.
To keep growing without killing yourself, giving others your insights and support in leadership will be one of the greatest things you can do for them, your organization, and yourself.

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