I often get asked about the difference between leading leaders and leading followers. It’s a great question. The question ultimately points to a paradigm of leading people.
I certainly know I want to attract and retain leaders on our team. I don’t want a bunch of people waiting for me to make a decision or who fail to take initiative. I ultimately want people who will lead me.
I also realize I am not a perfect leader. I have so much room to personally grow as a leader. One thing I have discovered, however, is the difference in how I lead if I want to lead leaders. And, the difference is huge.
I could choose to be a boss – and simply require people to perform for pay. To lead leaders requires a different skill set. It challenges the way I lead.
As a leader of leaders…
I say, “I don’t know, I’ll have to find out” a lot. I can’t have all the answers. I need to be leading people – encouraging them to lead – more than I’m instructing people.
I often “didn’t know about that” – whatever “that” is – until after a decision has been made. And, if I’m leading well you won’t hear me say anything negative about what I don’t know, because I support my team’s ability to make decisions.
I encourage learning from someone besides me. After all, I don’t have all the answers. Some days, without my team, I don’t have any.
I let people make mistakes. And, I’m glad they let me make some too. It’s one of the best ways we learn from life and each other.
I try to steer discussion more than have solutions. And, I find meetings become more productive. Work becomes more efficient.
I believe in dreams other than my own. People have opinions and ideas. The best ones aren’t always mine.
I say “we” more than I say “me”. (Except in this post) A team is more powerful than an individual effort.
I strive to empower more than I control. Leadership stalls when we try to determine the outcome. It thrives when we learn and practice good delegation.
I’m not afraid of being challenged by those on our team. I’m not saying it “feels good” to be critiqued, but I know it’s a part of making us better.
I seldom script the way to achieve the vision. In fact, I never script it alone. I try to always include those who have to implement the plan into the creation of the plan. And, by experience, it seems to be a more effective way to do things.
Do you lead leaders? What would you add?