Some say that you know you're leading when others are following you.
That's certainly a start. Yet I'll suggest that the ultimate test of your leadership is the extent to which you cultivate leadership in others.
Here are 3 things you need to focus on to ensure you're leading
or developing leaders:
1. Support and encourage people to lead themselves
Part of your role as a leader is to fuel the inspiration and confidence your staff need to lead themselves. Consider that if you want the best from people, they must first believe they're capable of more, and then that giving more matters.
As John Quincy Adams said:
"If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader."
2. Make bold requests for meaningful results
Managers assign tasks. Leaders empower others to produce results.
If you truly want to cultivate leaders, you'll want to make bold requests — the kind that make someone's heart race a bit because they know it's going to require them to stretch themselves to be more and do more.
Make the results you're asking for meaningful to your staff, to you and to your organization, and you'll heighten their level of commitment and ownership as well.
3. Develop partners vs. good soldiers
Good soldiers, the people you can depend on to just do the work, are clearly important to any organization. Yet building an army of good soldiers means that at some point you'll become the ceiling to what's possible for your organization, because far too much will rest on your shoulders alone.
Consider identifying at least a few people who you could confidently invite to be your partner — as people who work with you rather than just for you. Practice leadership development this way and you'll see their level of ownership increase dramatically.
The hard part may be that you'll have to let go of more than may be comfortable with. But just think of what you might now be able to take on instead.
What does successful leadership development look like?
You'll know you're leading leaders when you can count on those you lead to own their future, their results, and the results of your organization as if they were 100% responsible for all of it.
Your Turn: What are you doing to ensure you're leading leaders?