The Boardroom Beat #8: What Leaders DO - The Leadership Ripple
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Last month’s column on “Vibe” was about the essence and energy of great leaders. This month is about what great leaders DO. They create and grow other leaders. Building on positive vibe, there are three actionable ways that leaders create leaders.
#1 Share the Big Picture
Pursuit of purpose is at an all time high. In corporate coaching programs for emerging professionals I have worked with hundreds of Millennials and Gen Zs. A generality that strikes me is how they prioritize purpose. They care deeply about organizational mission and their contribution to it. This isn’t just generational. It is human nature to want to know how our widget makes the machine go. While increasingly important at all seniority levels, at the newer end of the workforce spectrum it impacts talent recruitment and retention dramatically. Prepare to be astounded when the energy lift from performing on purpose unleashes resourcefulness that ripples to client engagement and revenue results.
#2 Answer Questions with Questions
This is one of those simple tips that most know but don’t practice. One of my clients, the SVP of an international company resolved to make this an action focus (with prolific reminder notes) between coaching sessions. With a high wisdom quotient and years of organizational and client context, this SVP is an accessible mentor to her team and many beyond it. By pushing back with questions when approached for advice and direction she saw immediate and empowering results. The added bonus to this enablement - the strategic bandwidth she gained from spending less time on tactical direction.
#3 Engage in 1:1 Career Pathing
Know each direct report. Use a structured framework for accountability. This is the broken record that I laud at every opportunity. Know what drives them and the future they wish to pursue. Expose them to possibilities they may not have considered. Help them chart a path for growth. Help them access resources to close skill gaps. Support their journey. Set a monthly 1:1 coaching session dedicated to professional growth…..No operations or tactical firefighting allowed. Try this standing agenda:
- * Celebrations
- * Misses/Lessons learned
- * Gaps to overcome to achieve “next”
- * Stretch goal for the next 30 days
- * Resources needed
The Leadership Ripple Effect
Leaders encourage their teams to see the big picture and understand their role in it, to creatively problem solve, and to continuously stretch toward their goals. A high performing team is the results of optimizing the engagement of each direct report. The ongoing ripple happens when direct reports model the approach. Leaders grow leaders.