Essentials for Emerging Leaders Part Three
Essentials for Emerging Leaders
Emerging Leaders Can Contribute Now! They are young, vibrant, and eager to conquer their world. Their understanding of technology and social marketing alone sets them apart from many of their seasoned coworkers. These young leaders want to be decision makers, actively participate in strategic forums, and build companies that impact humanity for the good. So the following concepts are presented to ground the emerging leaders’ zeal, while at the same time pry the stranglehold of empowerment out of the established leadership.
Emerging Leaders: When You Find Something to Do, Do It! A young leader can be overlooked when they refuse menial opportunities. Empowerment is often withheld because the inexperienced apprentice sees the task at hand as being beneath them. They would do themselves a favor if they would put on the apron of a servant rather than the robe of a ruler.
- When something is considered to be beneath the emergent leader, their attitude toward the assignment could disqualify them from being offered the next opportunity. They fail to realize that someone before them paved the way for the company’s success. That those individuals wore multiple hats and took on anything and everything to move the organization forward. If the emerging leader takes the same approach to responsibilities, they position themselves for a favorable future.
- Developing leaders are promoted more quickly by serving the needs of others. No one likes a self promoting, egotistical, and self serving individual. When young leaders demonstrate the old adage; “There is no ‘I’ in Team,” they will win the comradery necessary to advance. These evolving leaders must learn the reality that where they dream of going requires the involvement of other people. Not from the standpoint of using people, but in the framework of “we are better together.” When they serve the needs of others, they are setting into motion the law of sowing and reaping. Scripture teaches that when you are faithful in another man’s endeavors God will reward you with your own.
- Many times the best talents are discovered in the process of doing. When the growing leader takes on assignments that may not appear to be advancing their goals, they put their skill sets on display. Now the established leadership can observe their problem solving skills. They can witness the maturing leaders ability to build a coalition or navigate themselves through conflict. Leaders will lead and others will follow whether the leader is leading down, laterally, or up it makes no difference. So, by doing the task, thriving leaders will make their leadership evident to all.
- It is better to be seen than heard…. Wah wah wah…. Mama is not here! While young leaders possess fresh ideas and perspectives, they must learn when to speak and when to speak without using words. Complaining about a lack of opportunity, voicing objections about the culture, or bemoaning the lack of personal preferences will only hinder. Displaying bad attitudes, pouting about being overlooked, or being combative toward their peers only makes them appear immature.
Established Leaders: Be Willing To Coach, Not Critique! Remember, there was a time when you were advancing through the ranks. Stop and think about that one person who took you “under their wings.” The one who believed in you and gave you opportunity. They credited you with enough moxy to give you a project to manage. When you failed, they encouraged you. When you succeeded they celebrated you. They shaped your leadership and made you better. Emerging leaders are crying out for coaches, mentors, and someone who will believe in them.
- You too were a novice at one time. Don’t expect perfection. Be willing to invest in the raw talent. Become comfortable with messy. Developing leaders are just that…. developing! They will make mistakes. They will be overconfident. They will push your limits. But they are worth it.
- Demonstrate mature leadership. There is an old saying, “It’s more caught than taught.” These young leaders have book knowledge. Now they need some intense OJT (on the job training). When you have an oversight meeting ask them questions that require critical thinking. Respond with stories and personal examples… remember, they have read the books. Focus on the why more than the how. Why you chose to use a particular strategy to fund an initiative. Why you involved some departments and not others in the strategic planning process. Why you chose the vendor who presented the highest bid. Model vulnerability by sharing your mishaps, your weaknesses, and your successes.
- Spend Time. True coaching requires timely interactions. Some can be scheduled with oversight meetings but many others should take place in the context of real life situations. Look for those teachable moments that require you to get out of the routine and requires immediate interaction. It could be to discuss a better way of approaching an objective. Sometimes you may want to pull them aside at a function and coach them on relational equity. Whatever the case may be, you can only coach, mentor, or consult by using time as your friend not your enemy. One interaction of 30 minutes to an hour may cost some precious time for that day, but the growth in the emerging leader may save you countless hours of productivity in the future.
- Believe in them. They are the future. Emerging leaders need affirmation. When you give them specific insights concerning their contribution to a successful venture, you push them forward. Never underestimate your influence on their future. Earlier you remembered your coach, your leader, your mentor who took you as your were and invested into you. Now, today, you have the opportunity to take on the raw talent before you and build a great leader.
- Recognize that words are powerful! So choose them wisely when offering correction. You can be straight forward but be sure you are attacking the issue and not the individual. When you touch someone’s inner person with sharp, condescending, and demeaning words, you can scar them for life. There are so many wounded leaders whose mentors were rash with their criticism, who used unnecessary analogies, and who failed to recognize the power of their influence. Speak the truth in love. Respect the individual. Allow yourself to err on the side of graciousness. Build up, don’t tear down. Lift them to the next level through conversations that focus on their success.
PRO 29:18 “Where there is no progressive revelation (vision), the people cast off restraint.”
When the vision isn’t clear people begin to disconnect. People want to be a part of something greater than themselves. They desire to contribute. They want to know that their involvement moves the mission forward.
Effectively implementing vision requires several key features.
- Leaders must be laser focused on the “why” of the organization. The “why” speaks to the motivation, the passion and the driving force for the company’s existence.
- The leader must understand what problems are being solved by the team. Understanding what the team does well keeps everyone involved and focused on what’s important. It helps the company stay narrow and sharp rather than broad and inefficient.
- Lastly, vision is about the future, the dream of what could be. Some would refer to it as the BHAG (big hairy audacious goal). That enormous something that requires growth, resources and people in order to be achieved. It provides the dream for tomorrow and ignites the desires to go there. BHAG creates the understanding that more investment is needed, more leadership development is required, more streamlining is vital. The dream of what could be says, “We haven’t arrived. There is another level. We have another mountain to climb.”
If a leader doesn’t have a vision, they will plagiarize it.
- No organization can live without vision.
- Even the most dynamic and charismatic leader requires vision. Because it, the vision, is what keeps the people following the leader.
- Ultimately, vision furnishes the adhesive which pulls the organization and its leadership together.
Vision, vision and more vision!