DEVELOPING POTENTIAL LEADERS: BASIC RULES.
Leadership is imperative in achieving structural growth in any given organization. It is the pillar of a nation building. A nation or organization with bad or porous leadership structure will never stand the test of time. “Show me a system that is faulty, I will show an organization that lack structured leadership” Developing a structured leadership means having a potential leaders. Potential leaders are rare gem; most organizations have spent huge resources in search of potential leaders. Most nations are in search of potential leaders. What keeps your organization out of others is your leadership structure. Followers are tired of being led by bad leaders. For Henry Ford to say “you can take my factories, burn up my buildings, but give me my people and I will bring my business right back” tells us the extent of having potential leaders. He knew that buildings and bureaucracy are not essential to growth.
Therefore for any organization or nation to strive and compete favourably in the global economy, there is every need to develop and have potential leaders. Potential leaders are not born but rather made. Most leaders’ basic problem is that they pursue shadow instead of realities. How can a leader lives the opportunities that lie within him and be searching for it outside? Potential leaders look inside than outside. They know within lies acres of diamond. The stories of Gold diggers make us to understand that where the dirt is lies the gold. Aren’t you surprise the people you think that can not perform in your organization get to other organizations become the heads of department and managers. What you fail to discover, others will discover it. Therefore in this chapter you will a have a first class knowledge of how to develop potential leaders and keep them.
Who is a Potential Leader?
Potential leader is a great leader, a successful leader, an effective and efficient leader. He is a leader that raise up other potential leaders, mentor and multiply their effectiveness, enhance and expand the future of the organization, provide growth and opportunities, place emphasis on production not position and title, spend more efforts on team work, makes difficult decision, pay the price that attract others, leads and don’t manage, and above all a servant to his followers. A potential leaders bounces back when there is a problem. From the above definition of who a potential leader is, we can see that nobody is born with such traits or attribute but rather acquires it in the process of time. That means a potential leader is not a born leader but a “made” leader. That means the only way you can posses this qualities is to train and nurture yourself into it. Though some might tend to argue it, but it’s not arguable. A philosopher once said “a child’s mind is like a white sheet of paper, that it’s only what the society writes on it determine what the child will be” Create time to nurture and train your self. Don’t wait for your organization to do it all. Look! Motivation starts from inside not outside. Be a motivator of yourself. Though your organization has some roles to play, but start it first. If you are an entrepreneurs or would-be entrepreneurs, the future of that organization lies in you hand. Work on your leadership and bring the best out of them. Keep looking out for opportunities. The gold prospectors believed that every mountain is a possible opportunities for gold mines. When they find traces of ore, they assume there is a vein and begin digging.
Potential leaders are within you, you don’t have to spend all that you have to get them. You don’t need 90% evidence or proof to know them. A little trace is just enough. The rest is for you to dig them out. You have the ability to develop yourself and the people around into being a potential leader. Joseph knew who he was, but his brothers could not believe him. It was just a matter of time the real Joseph manifested. I remembered an organization that sacked their top management leaders due to lack of performance and replaced them with new ones, yet the performance of the new leaders were not encouraging. The solution does not lie outside, it’s inside. Have you check their drive, determination and desire level? These are key determinants that develop a leader. Drive creates a push, determination creates a will and desire brings forth commitment. Besides these 3-Ds, there are other traits that can be of immense benefit in developing a potential leader.
In developing a potential leader, there are some traits to look out for. When these traits are properly harnessed and coordinated, can bring out the best from that person. You mustn’t go out to sought for leaders, leaders are like acres of diamond around you and within you. When you diligently search for them, you will find them. Below are some basic traits that will aid you to discover great leaders among you.
According to Encarta Dictionary 2008, “Character is the set of qualities that make somebody or something distinctive.” It’s also somebody reputation. Character is one of the basic leadership traits to look out for. According to John Maxwell, he said “I have found nothing more precious than this quality” A serious character flaws can not be ignored. They will eventually make a leader not effective. A would-be potential leader should have a good character attributes-honesty, integrity, self discipline, teachability, dependability, perseverance, conscientious and strong work ethic. Opportunities missed can hardly be regained. Others might have some character flaws in them, but that does not mean they should be ignored, rather a leader should dedicate his time in changing some of these flaws. Though it might take time but it will definitely pay off. Some of the character flaws that can be notice in some people are follows:
A person’s failure to take responsibilities of his actions. Unfulfilled promises or obligations. Failure to meet deadlines etc.
Leadership is influence. A would-be potential leader should have the ability to persuade others to go with him. Influence is what makes people to do what you want them to do. A leader who cannot influence his followers or others leaders is not worthy of being a leader. Followers like leader that knows where he’s going and knows what he’s doing. Look out for this trait and develop it.
A positive attitude is one of the most valuable assets a person can have in life. Your ability to succeed in the face of challenges depends on your positive mind set. If you are leader that is positive in all things, your leadership future is bright. Positive attitude is a valuable assets that can revive a dead mind. People with positive attitudes are able to go places where others can’t. They do things that others can’t. They are not restricted by self-imposed limitations. Most of the limitations people have are self imposed. Some people easily see barriers when such barriers are mere fiction. Barriers are not real. The way you position mind-set determines how you interprets barriers or obstacle. Check out for those that have positive mind-set and groom them.
Excellent People Skills:
A leader with out the people skill soon has no followers. People’s skills mean genuine concern for others, the ability to understand people, and the decision to make positive interaction with others a primary concern. Check out for people that have excellent skills and start developing them. Why most leaders find it difficult to succeed is because they lack cordial relationship with their followers. Our behaviour towards others determines their behaviours towards us. Where your intelligence can not take you, your people skill can take you. Don’t be self-centered. Always think on how to improve the people around you. People that are self centered turn out to be BOSS. Bosses are not leaders. Bosses are power drunk. In an organization where the leadership structure is autocratic or tyrannical, the leader MUST be boss. Know the right word to use in addressing your leaders. Therefore as a leader that wants to have a world-class organization, check out for those people that have such trait-people skills, and develop them.
Every human being created by God has its own gift. Why most people find it difficult to achieve success or maximize their potential is because they wrongly use their gift. There is no gift that is not positively rewarding. Most at times you see other people’s gift to more better-off than yours. The truth is that every gift has an equal potential to achieve same result. Those who are really called into the entertainment industry are making it big. Those in sports are not exceptional. It is your attitude and mind-set that play the role. As a leader, look for those people that have exceptional gift in different skills. Most employees perform below average because some of them are wrongly placed while some lack self discipline. It is the responsibility of the leader to help in bringing out the best from his followers. Some followers have wonderful gifts but lack the know-how. This means that a leader should look beyond their physical appearance and look into their mind and bring out the best in them. The worst that can happen to somebody is to die without his gift utilized.
People are naturally attracted to people that have self confidence. Confidence means having morale, gut, boldness etc. People will not follow a leader who does not have confidence in himself. Your confidence level will follow you through in a difficult situation. In an interview section, most panels look out for those would-be employees that have gut. Where intelligent people can not enter, your confidence will take you their. Being confidence means you have overcome fear. Fear is a destructive agent. It only diminishes when you begin to build your confidence level. The only thing that can make a “timid” person to approach the president of his nation is his confidence level. Have you ever heard of the word “stage freight” or “tension.” This is lack of confidence. If you have confidence, you can stand any situation whether daring or bearing. As a leader who wants to invest in other leaders, look out for their confidence level and take advantage.
Other traits that you could look out for are:
Proven track records. Self discipline. Effective communication skills. Discontent with the status quo. Creativity.
The type of leadership style you adopt will go a long way to determining the kind of followers you will have. Your leadership style will either attract potential leaders or dispel them. People naturally get attracted to leadership whose style is people oriented. That’s it takes the interest of people at heart. The people under you could put in their best as a result of your leadership style. Their potentials could be developed as a result of your leadership style. What are these the leadership styles?
Autocratic leadership is an extreme form of transactional leadership, where a leader exerts high level of power over his or her employees or team members. People within the team are given few opportunities for making suggestion, even if these would be in the team’s interest or organization’s interest. Most people tend to resent being treated like this. Because of this, autocratic leadership usually leads to high level of absenteeism. No leader can develop potential leaders in this form of leadership style.
Bureaucratic leaders work “by the book”, ensuring that their staff follow procedures exactly. This is a very appropriate style for work involving serious safety risks(such as working with machinery, with toxic substances or at heights) or where large sums of money are involved (such as cash handling). The inflexibility and high level of control exerted can demoralize staff and can diminish the organizations ability to react to changing external circumstances.
A charismatic leadership style can appear similar to a transformational leadership style, in that the leader injects huge doses of enthusiasm into his or her team, and is very energetic in driving others forward. However a charismatic leader can tend to believe more in him than in their team. This can create a risk that a project or even an entire organization might collapse if the leader were to leave.
Democratic Leadership or Perspective Leadership.
This is a perspective leadership style that allows others to be part of decision making of the organization. This not only increase job satisfaction by involving employees or team members in what is going on, but it also helps to develop people’s skills. Employees and team members feel in control of their own destiny, and so are motivated to work hard by more than just a financial reward. Though this kind of leadership style can lead to things happening more slowly than an autocratic approach, but often the end result is better. It can be most suitable where team working is essential. This kind of leadership is a breeding ground for potential leaders. Great leaders can easily emerge from democratic leadership style.
This French phrase means “leave it be” and is used to describe a leader who leaves his or her colleagues to get on with their work. It can be effective if the leader monitors what is being achieved and communicates this back to his team regularly. Most often, laissez-fair leadership works for team in which the individuals are very experienced and skilled self-starters. Unfortunately it can also refer to situation where managers are not exerting sufficient control. Laissez-fair leadership style could lead to non responsiveness and accountability to task. Potential leaders could hardly function in this kind of leadership style. This is because would-be potential leaders need a close monitoring in other to make every training they receive more effective.
People Oriented Leadership.
This style of leadership is the opposite of task-oriented leadership; the leadership is totally focused on organizing, supporting and developing the people in the leader’s team. A participative style leadership tends to lead to good team work and creative collaboration. However, taken to extreme, it can lead to failure to achieve the team’s goal. In practice, most leaders are both task-oriented and people-oriented styles of leadership. People oriented leadership style could also be a breeding ground for potential leadership if properly harnessed.
Task Oriented Leadership.
This form of leadership style focuses only on getting the job done, and can be quite autocratic. He or she will actively define the work and the roles required, put structures in place, plan, organize and monitor. However, as task-oriented leaders spare little thought for the well being of their teams, this approach can suffer many of the flaws of autocratic leadership, with difficulties in motivating and retaining staff.
This style of leadership starts with the premise that the team members agree to obey their leader totally when they take a job on the “transaction” is (usually) that the organization pays the team members, in returns for their effort and compliance. As such, the leader has the right to punish the team members if their work doesn’t meet the pre-determined standard.
10 BASIC RULES OF DEVELOPING POTENTIAL LEADERS.
Leaders are made!! That does not mean that we don’t have born leaders. Born leaders also need other leaders to mentor them. That means they are born but are made. Achieving all round success in your leadership has some basic rules. These rules basic rules if effectively applied will be a guide in developing potential leaders within and around you. What are these basic rules?
Rule 1: Be a Servant.
“For any one who wants to be great MUST be a servant of all”-Mark 9:25.
Servant hood is the willingness to submit, play a team ball and follow the leader-John Maxwell. Jesus Christ while on earth washed his disciple’s feet. These are simple rules of achieving greatness. In your leadership structure, are you a servant or a boss? Every leader who wants to develop a potential leader must be a servant to them. Servant in this parlance does not mean being under their control, but being humble. Humility is the bed rock of servant hood. A humble leader is exalted while a proud leader is brought down. Servant hood is a great principle of developing potential leaders. Follower tend to follow and learn from leaders that are humble than a leader that is arrogant. Arrogant leaders produce nothing while humble leaders make tremendous achievement. Show me a leader who makes no achievement, and I will show you a leader that is autocratic. No humble leader that turns out to be an autocratic leader. Autocracy is borne out of arrogance and selfishness. When Jesus Christ laid much emphasis on servant hood, he knew the importance in developing potential leaders. Servanthod is a magnetic force that attracts follower to their leaders.
Rule 2: Develop other Leaders.
“As Jesus walked along the shore of Lake Galilee he saw two brothers who were fishermen, Simon (peter) and his brother Andrew, catching fish in the lake with a net. Jesus said to them “come with me and I will make you fishers of men” At once they left their nets and went with him. He went on and saw two other brothers, James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in their boat with their father Zebedee, getting their nets ready. Jesus called them, and at once they left the boat and their father and went with him”-Matthew 4:18-22.
A leader should have sub leaders (master minds) around him. The only way to have sub leaders is to discover them and train them. Jesus Christ who is an embodiment of leaderships discovered his 12 Apostles and trained (empowered) them. When you train a person, you have empowered the person. With these 12 Apostles, Jesus was able to lead the whole word to repentance. Though he could do it alone without the help of any of them, but he wanted us to know that we need other people to succeed and is our responsibility to groom new leaders. The effectiveness of a leader depends on his sub leaders. You can not do it alone. The Harvest is plenteous but the labourers are few. Moses in the Old Testament tried doing it alone but he could not. “Then Jethro said you are not doing it the right way. You will wear yourself out and these people as well. This is too much for you to do alone. Now let me give you some good advice, and God will be with you…..you should choose some capable men and appoint them as leaders of the people; leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. They must be God fearing men who can be trusted and who cannot be bribed”-Exodus 18:17-21. The import of Jethro statement to Moses is that “you can not do it alone” Leaders should learn how to develop the potentials of other leaders. This is the only way you can achieve success. Jesus groomed the 12 Apostles and brought out the best in them. After his ascension into heaven, his good works continue on earth. This is the reward of developing potential leaders around you. Even while you are not around your business keeps going. There are some CEOs who can not live their business for a week or month. Why? They are yet to develop other who will do it in their absence.
Rule 3: Develop a Positive Mind-Set.
I have previously discussed this as one of the leadership traits to look out for when searching for potential leaders. Your mind is the power house of thought. Every good and bad thought starts from their. With your mind set, you can chat your way through. A leader should take the advantage of those leaders around him that have positive mind set and develop them. You can do that successfully if you as a leader have positive mind set. As a leader what are the things that make up your thought? Likes beget likes. What is your attitude towards your leadership position? Are you a leader when others look at you, they feel secure and hopeful. Your followers tend to act the way you act. Haven’t you see follower that mimic their leaders and end up being like him. How do you see challenges? The mind set you have will go a long way in developing the leadership potentials you have and of the people around you. Be positive!!!
Rule 4: Work as Team.
Have you heard of this statement “team work, team chop” There is great success in working as a team. John Wooden a renowned Basket Ball Coach leverage on team work. He makes his team to know the benefit of working as a team. As a leader see yourself in the position of a coach. Your success lies in your team and vice versa. Every aspiring leader develops effectively under a team work environment. Avoid being too sentimental as leader, operate from both extreme. Don’t have “favourites” among those you lead. Perhaps you have any, don’t make it too pronounced, others might feel bad or get distracted. Show equal love on your team. Compliment them in any little achievement, and politely correct them when they do wrong. Let them know how important they are. These are the basic ingredients that sustain a team. When you work as a team you stand a better chance of grooming leaders with potentials.
Rule 5: Create Conducive Environment For Growth.
For a plant to grow, you need the right soil as well as the right seed. Potential leaders tend to emerge when they are in a right environment. Is your organization conducive for leaders to function to their maximum? In the academic world, a poor learning environment can negatively affects a child. A student needs the right environment to excel. Right atmosphere allows potential leaders to bloom and grow. Even if you employ a leader from a well structured and conducive environment into your organization, he can only function well if your organization is conducive. If not he will be influenced by what is obtainable in that environment. Avoid wasting resources shopping for potential leaders. Make your environment to be conducive and see how potential leaders will emerge. Those leaders you are shopping for, an organization made them to be like that. You can make your organization a “comb of honey” where others can come for honey.
Rule 6: Don’t be threaten by other Leaders potential.
“Leaders who mentor potential leaders multiple their effectiveness”-John Maxwell.
Why are you threaten when you discover potential in other leaders? Why do you get angry when other leaders give their suggestion on how you can move to the next level? Some leaders in most organizations are “dream destroyer” When they discover any leader or follower that has great ideas, they tend to destroy that idea. The question is; how can such organization develop potential leaders? Absolutely impossible. Most leaders are afraid of their subordinates taking over their position. For any organization to grow there must be room for succession. Succession brings growth. When a leader says other will not grow, he will equally not grow and the organization suffers. A leader that appreciates other leader’s potentials will definitely multiply their effectiveness. Let the relationship that exist between you and other leaders be a symbiotic relationship-both benefits and non is harmed.
Rule 7: Satisfy your Leaders.
A leader that wants to get the beat from other leaders should learn how to satisfy them first. The leaders within and around you are your “master minds”. Others call them “Farm minds” and “Think Tank”. Know the need of your master minds, go for it and satisfy them. Your success and failure lies within them. Don’t be a leader that is selfish-you first. You master minds get improved and developed when they notice your concern towards them. Give them room to make decision, but you give the final verdict collectively. Master minds appreciate those that recognize them. Selfishness in leadership might look promising at the beginning, but the end there off is disastrous.
Rule 8: Management of Words.
Words are powerful. Life and death lie in the power of the tongue. Your words form your action and your actions form your destiny. As a leader, what kind of words do you use on your sub leaders and followers? Are you a leader that is too abusive? Or leader that motivates? The words that proceed from your mind will determine how effective and active your followers will be. Some leaders talk and talk at the end no result. While others say a little thing and achieve tremendous result. What makes the difference? Your words! Your words define who you are. Are you a leader that can not secret? Do you gossip a lot? Do you talk so that you can buy favour from others? People tend to develop to their full potential with a leader that manage and use his words. You don’t have to say everything because you are leader. Choose the things to say. Be selective. Your words can make or break you. Be polite and courteous in your speech. Think before you talk. Potential leaders emerge from an organization that values the worth of people through words management.
Rule 9: Develop your Trust Level.
Trust is one of the backbones of every successful business. The extent you trust your leaders and followers will determine the extent they will respond and rely on you. Growth can not take place in an environment that lack trust. Lack of trust brings lack of responsibility and accountability. Lack of trust brings suspicion in an organization. In most organization the leader suspects everybody. The truth is that nobody can grow in such environment. Though the world is corrupt, but that does not mean we don’t have sincere and honest people. People that have integrity still exist. As a leader try to build and develop your trust level. When the people you lead notice that you trust them, they will put in their best. Stop keeping everything to yourself. It doesn’t pay. How do you develop trust on them? This where FAITH comes in. Just believe every person under you is good. Let them know that you believe in them. Keep assuring them how useful and important they are to the system. Recognize their inputs no matter how little it is. Just try it.
Rule 10: Be a Leader and not a Boss.
What is the difference between a leader and a boss? A leader is in the front breaking new grounds, conquering new worlds and moving away from status quo. While a boss sits in the office, drink coffee, make phone calls and gives order. There is nothing wrong making phone calls and drinking coffee, a sincere boss should know that there is time for everything. A leader is a role model. A leader is deliberately seeks and find potential leaders. A boss is always afraid of people that have potentials. A leader gives the glory to his followers and takes the blame if something goes wrong, while a boss takes the glory for himself and blames the follower if anything goes wrong. A leader has no excuse when he makes mistake, a boss has a lot of excuses to give. Potential leaders emerge when leaders take up their responsibilities as a leader not boss.
Leadership is an integral part of organizational growth. Every organization draws its strength from its leadership structure. Potential leaders are the secret behind an effective leadership structure. Therefore the 10 rules if properly apply will bring out the best in every leader and the organization at large
Onuegbu Kenneth is a Motivational Speaker and Writer. He is the President of Edu Empowerment Initiatives, an NGO that empowers the youth in all spheres of life such Leadership, Education, Skill acquisitions, Investment Empowernment and Digital Knowledge Empowerment.