It's been awhile since I've done some leadership-focused posts, and it seemed to be a good time to write a few of them again.
One of the most important leadership lessons I've learned is to not only acknowledge the leadership capabilities of those on your team, but also properly equip them with the necessary skills for success. More often that not, we see leaders delegating tasks, yet never empowering their people to lead. Equipping people is the real difference between a delegated task and an empowered leader. I recently came across this list of suggestions for properly and effectively equipping your leaders, and thought it was definitely worth sharing.
1. Affirm their gifts and abilities.
2. Teach from their experiences.
3. Discern their growth edges.
4. Solve problems with them.
5. Utilize role plays.
6. Learn together.
How many of these do you use with those under your leadership (can be family or work team)? It is essential that we, as leaders, not only allow others to lead, but also encourage and release them to do it. Holding onto power never makes a leader stronger, in fact, it actually weakens the level of trust between leader and team. It may seem like strange psychology, but approaching leadership with an open hand, rather than a closed fist, will actually make the leader far more successful. (This principle is also applicable to more than just leadership.) One of the best ways to empower someone, and the key to effective influence is to begin by actually listening to them. Most of us just listen to talk. Leaders listen to connect and to understand.
Proverbs 18:13 says, "Answering before listening is both stupid and rude." In order to avoid both of those, how do we really listen?
Here's a few tips:
- Listen more than you speak.
- Actively engage in their story.
- Fight the temptation to move too quickly to solutions.
- Listen beyond the words.
I challenge you to begin to really listen to others as you go about your day today. Look for ways to encourage, understand, and empower those around you. This will make a difference in your leadership and that of your team members.