by Diane H. Wong
What does it take to develop and sustain leadership at all levels of an organization? In this article we focus on six key ways.
#1 Way to develop and sustain leadership at all levels: Allow Others to Fail
If you are into control and into making sure everything is perfect, it is not going to happen and therefore you will not develop leadership in others. Therefor you must allow others to fail.
There are times when you know you can do something and you just don’t get the chance to do it. There are other times when you think you can do something and it just doesn’t quite work out but you learn from it. As human beings we are constantly working to become better. But unless we are allowed to fail, unless we are allowed to take the risk and unless we are allowed to try and implement our own ideas and our own methods, we will never be able to help ourselves and others, become great leaders.
#2 Way to Develop and sustain leadership at all levels: Clarify the Constraints
In order to allow others to fail, clarify the constraints, time, budget and manpower. Ask yourself what they have to work with and do not spoon feed them. Never assume you know more than they do, even if it is true. Ask them questions on how they would do it. These people will get lazy if you are going to start spoon feeding them. If they know you have the answers they are just going to turn to you for them. Let them come up with the ideas and empower them to take charge. Ask them questions. Don’t give them the answers directly. It will not help them to develop and it will not help them to become better leaders.
#3: Way to Develop and sustain leadership at all levels: Show Respect without Judgement
Show respect for their methods, ideas and plans without judgement. People process information differently. They have different emotional drivers and different ways of perceiving things. Let them try it their way. Don’t judge. Let them try. Be respectful of their methods.
#4: Way to Develop and sustain leadership at all levels: Assist People to Identify Failure
If they fail, assist them to identify why that failure is a stepping stone to success. Now if they do fail, at least help them identify what that failure meant. Because the failure itself essentially is a stepping stone to greater success. Failure can bring them closer to being more effective and efficient leaders. As a leader, develop that mentality, that attitude of accepting failure as a positive thing and not as something negative so long as you learn from it.
#5 Way to Develop and sustain leadership at all levels: Be Supportive of Colleagues’ Efforts
Be supportive of their efforts and encourage them to take action. In order to fail intelligently make sure that people know they are allowed to make mistakes so that they will take more responsibility. When they learn from their mistakes, make sure they know that it is designed in order to help them be better in future. Be supportive in their failures. Develop their confidence by showing them where that failure has a positive impact.
#6 Way to Develop and sustain leadership at all levels: Foster Trust
In order to develop leadership at all levels of an organization, you must foster trust. Trust is not going to happen if you berate people the second they fail. Trust comes from allowing people to make mistakes. Now this does not mean let them to slack off. It means allowing them to take responsibility, to take risks and to be better equipped to handle failure in future. If you develop this trust you will also develop their respect. If you develop their respect you will cultivate success.
Why? Because everybody wants to be successful. We want to be trusted and desired and respected. When you develop a sense of trust people will want to earn that trust. When you develop a sense of respect, people will live up to those expectations of that respect. With proper guidance, the attitude of trust and respect and the ability to feel successful will develop a strong leadership ability within others.
If you want to create leadership at all levels of your organization and foster the desire for each individual to want to become a great leader, guide people to ‘fail’ successfully. This will change attitudes and the perceptions of everybody in the organization. Start failing successfully today!