To be a great leader you must do more than just inspire those underneath you; you must also create the next generation of leaders to follow in your footsteps. When you mentor those that are under your authority, you ensure a solid foundation of leadership. This legacy will help your team continue to innovate and tackle complex problems long after you’ve moved on.
Here are five mentoring tools that will help you start the process of building better leaders within your organization.
- Differentiate Tasks. Leadership programs fall apart because there isn’t differentiation between jobs, and no clear-cut boundaries. This leads to distracting battles over turf within the company and erodes the authority of those in leadership positions. All leaders in your organization need a firm job description that lays out their area of responsibility in a clear and concise way.
- Challenge, Don’t Coach. A strong leader doesn’t want to hear you talk about leadership issues; he or she wants to put their leadership skills to the test. Prepare to feed any leader in your organization a steady stream of tasks, so they can stumble and grow on their own. Provide them with coaching and guidance when they fail to meet the objectives you lay out for them, but also give positive feedback about the things they are doing right.
- A Vision Of The Future. The reason people follow a leader is that they feel inspired by a vision of future success. If you want strong leaders in your organization, talk to them about how they see the future, and make sure their version is in line with yours. These discussions help keep you and your leadership team on the same page. They also allow the other team members to see how the tasks they perform today impact the long-term strategy of the company.
- Create Grand Objectives. No one becomes a leader by accomplishing small, obtainable objectives. The leaders on your team need tasks and objectives that are much grander than they could ever do by themselves. This tactic serves two purposes. First, it separates the overachievers from those with true leadership qualities. Overachievers will try to do everything on their own, never delegating or seeking the help of others. This will cause them to fail when given too great challenge. A leader knows how to use the strengths of others to supplement their own, building a coalition that can do any task that you give them. The second reason to give your leaders a large task is to inspire them to greatness. If you only assign obtainable objectives, potential leaders in your organization will feel you don’t trust them and become complacent.
- Build Teams. The hallmark of any good leader is the ability to build teams. Your mentoring process should drive the members of your leadership group to build teams, inspire confidence in others, and meet your high standards. In learning how to build teams, a potential leader will gain a greater respect for compromise.
Leaders are made, not born. It’s your responsibility to promote leadership skills with those you lead. In doing so, you will foster of legacy of empowerment and become a better leader yourself.