The Greatest Challenge Of Leadership

The development of additional leaders is the greatest challenge of leadership.. Firstly, it involves letting go of a member of your team. As leaders, we manage members of our team to get the best out of them and how they best can contribute to the team. We need to pass the obstacle of being self focused - that is, what can they do for us and for our team - to being them focused - how to put them on the path of developing them into a leader. For any control freaks out there, this can be really hard as we have to trust them with more responsibility and focus on their long term development so they can succeed in the their career long term.

The other obstacle leaders can face in the process of developing other leaders is people. Many people can resist the idea of becoming a leader. You need to identify potential leaders carefully, slowly. These are the steps I follow when developing a new leader:

  1. I proactively meet with all my staff and make time to discuss their ambitions, their hopes and career goals. By doing this I get a sense if they want to make an upwards career move, a sideway one or change to a different career altogether. I can then focus on those who want to make a step up in their career. This isn't to say I ignore others completely, but I have a priority for those who are willing and desire to move up in their current career.
  2. After that, I make it a priority to spend time with them as I work and to discuss and monitor how they are going to achieve their goals. This has a twofold effect, they get to witness the process of how you go about achieving your goals and they get to see how leaders work and what is involved.
  3. Then I start the process of assigning new possibilities and projects, followed by developing new projects on their own and following them through to their completion. This gives them confidence to develop as an upcoming leader. Then start with some professional training on developing a vision, managing a team and continuous improvement. This gives them the basic tools so they start overcoming their own challenges of leadership.

This is the process I use when developing leaders. Although not 100% foolproof it helps guide me to where we both envision the process is taking us. And lets us both see that the greatest challenge of leadership is not in being a leader but passing these skills along to someone else.