What is the job description of a leader? I believe the number one responsibility of a leader is to draw out leadership in others. Who is more qualified to develop an emerging leader than another leader? If a leader will not do it, who else will? Although investing time in another leader may seem like adding more to a growing to-do list, leaders benefit and perform at their best when they coach and mentor emerging leaders.
True leaders not only make it a priority to spend the time with other leaders, but they create opportunities for emerging leaders to develop their competencies. Foster and Auerbach (2015) pointed to research that showed that the most effective formula for developing leadership competencies was: (1) 70% on the job learning through shadowing others and stretch job assignments, (2) 20% from coaching and mentoring, and (3) formal training or education.
What does leadership look like? If you ask a dozen people, you may get a dozen different answers, although I suspect you would get some common themes focused on character traits such as honesty, integrity, initiative, and intelligence, and perhaps skills such as being a good communicator and delegator. People are usually attracted to leaders who have charisma and display extroversion. The truth? Leaders come in all shapes and more importantly styles. Although the media portrays great leaders as espousing grand visions, the reality is that great leadership is reflected in many different faces. Bill Hybels (2009) described many of the varied leadership styles that are required to continually innovate and grow an organization. Each style plays a necessary role, and those organizations that appreciate and leverage these different leaders will flourish.
- Visionary: casts powerful visions with an undefeatable enthusiasm to turn visions into reality
- Directional: chooses the right path for an organization at it approaches critical intersections where decisions about direction are needed
- Strategic: breaks down an exciting vision into a series of defined, achievable steps and brings subgroups into alignment to realize the vision
- Managing: brings order out of chaos by establishing appropriate milestones to the destination and organizing people, processes, and resources to achieve a mission
- Motivational: keeps the team fired up and operating on all cylinders
- Shepherding: builds, nurtures, and supports a team which draws people together regardless of the cause
- Team-building: selects and develops the right team members based on their abilities, character, and chemistry and places them in the right positions for the right reasons to produce the right results
- Entrepreneurial: possesses many other leadership styles but optimally functions in start-up mode
- Re-engineering: like entrepreneurial leaders although functions best in turn-around environments or troubled situations
- Bridge-building: brings together a diverse group of people under a single leadership umbrella to stay focused on a single mission
Do you see yourself in any one of more of these leadership styles? Does your organization value your leadership style? Is your leadership style needed in your organization and aligned with your job responsibilities? These are a few questions you should answer for yourself as you plan to grow in leadership capacity. Regardless of where you lie on the leadership continuum, there are likely other emerging leaders behind you, who could benefit from your leadership knowledge and coaching. Know your leadership style, and be the leader who invests in other leaders.
Foster, S., & Auerbach, J. (2015). Positive psychology in coaching: Applying science to executive and personal coaching. Pismo Beach, CA: Executive College Press.
Hybels, B. (2009). Courageous leadership: Field-tested strategy for the 360o leader. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
About the Author: Sandra Dillon is a professional coach, consultant, and mentor with an extensive background in business development, leadership, and ministry which provides her with the experience, relational skills, and proven processes to move individuals, couples, and leaders to higher levels of personal awareness, effectiveness, and goal achievement. She coaches in a variety of areas including life purpose and plans, business, finances, and premarital/marriage.