“The growth and development of people
is the highest calling of leadership.”
— Harvey S Firestone
I love this quote and believe it to be true, not because a business great like Harvey Firestone said it, or even believed it and lived it, but because it has been my experience that it is true. I know in looking back at all of the various managers, business owners and such that were in leadership positions where I worked, it is the ones that helped me grow that have stood out. Also, taking into consideration the group of them through my life, those type of leaders are few.
Consequently, or perhaps a better word might be coincidentally, I practice the development of people as my leadership style, and I say coincidentally, because that is not so much a choice on my part to act in that way as a leader, but it is how I feel and act in what I do in me as a person. So, I live it, breathe it, and act in it, then it is also a natural thing to teach it.
I suppose an accurate and more effective way to say that is that I lead by example, and especially where personal development plays a part, and I believe it always plays a part.
What are some of the ways of helping the development and growth of people in an organization? Here are some thoughts:
•Leaders are readers. Lead by example by being a reader and a life-long learner. I don’t need to know everything, but I want to continue learning and expanding my own knowledge and thereby share that passion with my team and others around me. I know how much of a difference it has made in my life and I know how much of a difference it will make it others as well.
•Micro-managing is an ego trip and it stifles growth. Learn how to delegate and trust and have more patience. This is a challenge for many and still is from time to time with me. It is easy to do a thing myself, and certainly easier than trying to teach someone else to do it or wait until they are up to speed, but I realize I can’t do it all and if I keep doing it all, the company cannot grow. I need to lead the company, which means that I need to focus time on the outside looking in rather than doing all the work just because it is convenient, or may seem to be the way to have it done right or well. I practice letting go of the rope and it helps a great deal.
•Don’t tell people how to do everything. Give them basic guidelines and let them use their creativity and skills to do it better than I might do it. We have graphic designers and the less instruction I give them, the better the product they produce. I love to see people do it better than me. It helps me grow and it helps them grow.
•Challenge people to solve problems. Let your team help your solve problems.
•Praise and encouragement is high on the list of things that motivate me, so I use them in the same way to help uplift team members.
This is certainly not a complete list, and I’m sure you can add to it. I hope some of these ideas are beneficial to your growth and that of your team.
A Healthy, Growing Company Requires Healthy, Growing People.
Spread Some Joy Today–Take a personal break, maybe once a week, and do something totally fun for yourself. Maybe even skip lunch and do that instead.