By Maurie Cashman
You should make it clear within your organization what the price of earning leadership is. Respect is earned and not given. Leadership is too. Make clear to the people that you are mentoring what you expect of them.
Itâ€™s interesting what a recent survey by Mike Figliuolo of Thought Leaders LLC had to say about peopleâ€™s perception of themselves as leaders.
As Adm. Grace Murray Hopper said, “You manage things and you lead people.” – Thought Leaders LLC
I have a very hard time believing that 72% of people out there are good leaders.
Set Values and Expectations
Last week we talked about learning and mentoring leadership. This process begins with setting clear values for your business. These values must then be brought through to expectations and leadership plans for employees
Fix Employee Responsibility
It is then the employeeâ€™s responsibility to demonstrate that they are deserving of the trust and responsibility being given them. As they demonstrate the ability to handle a leadership role, give them more responsibility and continue to build on their skills. Everyone wants to feel valued and that they are contributing to the success of the organization in an ever-increasing way.
Be careful not to move to rapidly with your plan. It is good to let your employee work through new responsibilities and authority and to allow others to adapt as well before increasing the leadership responsibilities further. In this way, the employee must prove that they can manage what they have been given, demonstrate that they can handle more, and the rest of the organization grows accustomed to seeing this leadership increase gradually. Sudden large changes can be disruptive and can cause unnecessary regression by an employee, slowing down the overall process.
Be prepared for mistakes and missteps. If employees are not measuring up it is your responsibility to coach them to learn from the experience. Be careful not to fix the problem for the individual. Talk through the issue and have them come up with a plan to go back into the fray and fix the problem. This builds confidence in your leaders and also in your leadership.
One of the worst mistakes you can make is to misjudge an individualâ€™s capabilities, style or intentions. Some employees will simply not adhere to your values or their circumstances may change, and their behavior may change with them.
Jason was hired from a competitor for a leadership position in a rapidly-growing company. Everything on paper looked like a good match and interviews went well. Jason had very strong leadership capabilities. However, after being on the job for a short period it became apparent that Jasonâ€™s values conflicted directly with those of the rest of the key management leadership. Since Jason was responsible for a large part of the organization he consistently fought ideas from other areas and actively led his team in a way that was directly in conflict with the stated business plans of the organization.
When Jason was confronted, he became defensive and did nothing to try to understand why the others on the leadership team were conflicting with him. As time progressed the rest of the team isolated him, and he isolated his team from the rest of the organization. It suddenly became apparent that his ultimate goal was a hostile takeover of the organization from within. The only solution at this point was to terminate him from the organization and to start over.
The cost of the above situation was estimated to run to the tens of millions of dollars when the hiring, training, problem identification, attempted resolution and failure, and ultimate severance from the organization and the underlying costs were calculated. We thought we could fix the problem through various coaching and intervention techniques, but nothing worked. The damage was done and it had a long-term impact on the value of the organization.
Clear expectations and regular communication is your job as the overall leader. However, it is also your job to ensure that your leadership team is continuing to develop and to eliminate those that will not. Be prepared for people to surprise you by showing leadership skills that you did not realize they had. People will surprise you with what they can do when given a challenge. Be prepared also for people to not measure up or to change over time.
With a solid development plan you can increase the value of your business by mitigating the risk of something happening to you and by making your successor owner more confident of the value of the business.
What do you think? Iâ€™d love for you to join the conversation in comments.