When you focus on an individual through the time you spend with them, the way you listen to and encourage them, you will see before they do where their potential lies and where it doesn't.
Lasting leaders nurture their own abilities to see their employees' potential even before they do. Through this relationship, you will find some employees who have great potential to be leaders themselves, and as the leader, it's your job to nurture that potential.
The way to nurture those future leaders is by becoming a lasting leader yourself, giving your associates the 5 gifts explained in A Leader's Gift.
Let's look at the 5 gifts as they relate to nurturing future leaders:
- Being Open: As you get to know your associates as real people, not merely as numbers, you will understand what they are and are not capable of, including taking on leadership roles.
- Investing Time: Only through our investment of time in our employees will we see them grow to their highest potential.
- Listening: When your employees know that you value their ideas, they will share them with you. Listen to what they are saying and you may hear the thoughts of a budding leader.
- Offering Encouragement: If you are genuinely interested in helping your associates you will foster the kind of long-term relationship that gives people the confidence to take on greater responsibilities.
- Expressing Appreciation: As explained in an earlier post, the right way to show appreciation is to highlight a person's strength and how he or she demonstrated it. Through this kind of communication, you will see those strengths more clearly and your employee will respond by using them again and again.
A leader's ability to see the practice of developing other people as his or her greatest responsibility is nonnegotiable today.
The people who live in your wake will define who you are and, eventually, tell the story of who you were.