What are some guiding principles you follow, when developing new leaders?
I believe the most important element to the development of a leader is their ability to practice engaged active listening. It is so easy to think that you have (or have to have) all of the answers. And many people rise to a leadership position because of their abilities in this area. But when you operate as if you are the only one with the answers, you do yourself, and especially your team, and incredible disservice.
In order to lead others, you must be committed to their professional development. And that means ensuring that they have the opportunity to solve problems, and make mistakes, without fear. You can guide them, support them and ease their journey, by three simple steps:
- LISTEN fully, with your ears and your eyes
- Help them to UNPACK the problem or challenge
- Facilitate a SOLUTION that makes sense
Once all the key pieces of information are brought to light, look at them objectively. Imagine a suitcase that was stuffed so full you couldn’t zip is shut, even if you sat on it. You have to take everything out to see if it can all fit if repacked. And sometimes that means leaving some things behind, like unnecessary emotions.
Finally, when all the facts are seen clearly, you can help guide your employee to a solution that makes sense. But let them see it, come up with it, and agree to their plan. You can still help guide and direct if their solution seems incorrect, but they opportunity to see a path for themselves will build their confidence and experience.
If you’ve always been the one who has the answer and makes the smart moves, how much will your team benefit from being able to show you what they are made of? And what will THEIR success mean to your own?
Michael Sherlock is a business writer, author, speaker and podcast host. As a Vice President of US Sales for two multi-national medical device companies, Michael has managed net revenue exceeding $50 million and managed as many as 500 employees at a time.
Mrs. Sherlock provides corporations and business leaders with engaging presentations and actionable strategies on leadership, employee development, customer experience, and sales transformation. In addition, Michael hosts the Shock Your Potential podcast where she highlights the best in leadership, sales and customer experiences. The Shock Your Potential Podcast is available via iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher and your favorite podcast apps, as well as online.
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