“Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”~Tom Peters
I was on a call with a client the other day, and she was feeling stuck. “I can’t seem to get my team to get on board,” she told me. “I need them to follow my lead, to take the vision and move it forward.”
As she shared more and more, and I heard more and more, what I really heard was her need for them to follow her lead. Which is great, in some ways. And limiting, in others.
Because when we create followers, our followers need us in front of them, telling them to go. They potentially come to us with problems, but not solutions. They’re willing to do anything for us, but only if we tell them what it is. Point is, they need us to direct them, and then they take our direction and run.
“What you really want,” I shared with her (as I share with nearly all my clients) “is to be dispensable. You want your team to not need you. You want your followers to know where to go without you. You want them to be leaders.”
Because if we’re not dispensable, if we’ve created followers, then we need to be there. Which means we’re not free to focus on the bigger picture, the more strategic thinking, the challenges and opportunities that really need our input.
We want to create leaders, who are willing to step up with their opinions. And to challenge our opinions. We want input and ideas, and people who are eager to move things forward on their own. Not to fight against our vision, but to be able to lead towards our vision and rally their troops behind them.
We may think we want to be followed, but my most successful clients have groomed and developed the people on their teams to step up. To lead.
How do you develop leaders?
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