People are the secret sauce of any organization. The most significant thing you can do as a leader is to make sure you build up the people around you.
If you want to build a skyscraper, you must have a solid foundation. The stronger that foundation, the higher you can build. The same is true for organizations. People are the foundation of an organization. The more you want to achieve as a leader, the broader and wider your foundation must become.
The most important role a leader plays in an organization is to acquire, place, grow and retain gifted people. It doesn’t matter how good your data analysis is, how compelling your vision is, or even how well thought out your strategic plan may be… If you don’t have the right people, you won’t be able to create the impact you desire. You’ll always come up short. One of my passions as a leader is to build up people. I have a few habits I’ve developed that inform how I coach my senior leaders to build up people on their teams.
Here are 4 habits that can help you develop better leaders:
1. Be on the lookout for hidden talent
Whether it is people you connect with outside of your work environment, or your coworkers and employees, undiscovered talent is everywhere. Encourage those around you to pursue their passions and giftings. Be on the lookout for special abilities or exceptional initiative. Ask employees to explain what areas they are especially interested in developing and give them the opportunity to grow. Hidden talent is always around you; just take the time to look.
2. Create opportunities for the next generation of leaders
I tell my leadership team to find potential in those who aren’t in leadership yet and then give them opportunities to use their gifts or talents. You have the ability to advance the growth and development of those you lead when you provide opportunities that challenge them. If you see and sense the potential, call it out. Good leaders always create opportunities for other leaders.
3. Reserve time for coaching and mentoring
Great leaders are made and formed over time. Research shows that consistent mentoring relationships have powerful positive effects on people in personal, academic and professional situations. Unfortunately, one in three young people do not have a coach or mentor. It is important to not only create opportunities for the next generation, but champion them through their journey. Be intentional, and block out time on your calendar to speak into young leaders. This could lead to a lifelong impact.
4. Always choose the relationship
When you have a choice, choose the conversation over the task. It is easy to get caught up in the deadlines and numbers, but remember, people are more important. According to an APA survey, 93 percent of employees who reported feeling valued at work said that they are motivated to do their best. Positive and encouraging comments can be just enough to increase employee engagement, create healthier cultures and make more of a difference in an individual’s life than you will ever know. A strong organization starts with caring for people — not only through your words, but through your actions.
If you want to change your life, your organization and even change the world, you have to build up the people around you. There is no more foolproof formula for success.