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How is your garden this summer? Are you growing leaders or followers?

By Mike Heffner

One of the toughest things to do as a leader is to cultivate and grow future leaders. It’s easy to find yourself surrounded by a good group of effective and efficient people but then realize there isn’t anyone being developed into the next leader. In order to make sure that happens you have to make sure you are planting the seeds and then providing the guidance as the fertilizer to produce the future leader needed. If the business is built around getting all the direction and input from one person, this will limit the growth and can create burnout of both the leader and the followers. If your goal is to groom others to become leaders, then below are some things to think about:

1.)    Look to mentor others – most likely you’ve looked up to someone, make sure you are doing the same for others. Think about how that leader made you feel special.

2.)    How you make decisions matter – the way you carry yourself as you lead and gain input from your team will shape and groom how others make decisions when given the chance.

3.)    Don’t look to get the credit – look to give the credit to others. Leaders who only look for the personal win and don’t share the success will likely not empower others.

4.)    Failure is what allows others to grow – the fear of making a mistake won’t allow the risks that are needed to learn and win. You wont reap what you don’t sow.

5.)    Take time to listen – you hired individuals with ideas. Take time to hear them. Ask questions and dig into the ideas. Future leaders need to learn how to peel back the onion to uncover the hidden thinking.

6.)    Individualize – like every plant, every individual grows and is motivated in a different way. Find what motivates others and utilize their strengths to help them grow and fill the leadership voids that exist.

I have received the greatest joy seeing individuals grow and a team succeed through the leadership of others. I also have had some of my greatest frustrations when members of a team don’t accept or step up to fill the challenge or leadership gap. I have found when that frustration comes along, I have to step back and evaluate my leadership style and make sure it’s working for those on the team. No different than a gardener who creates great produce because it was carefully cared for; when we focus our energy on helping others succeed it’s amazing how we are the ones that end up with the blessings.

This article is written by Mike Heffner, the owner of the local Greenwood Express Employment Professionals franchise.  Contact Mike at Mike.Heffner@expresspros.com, @IndySouthMike on Twitter or visit ExpressIndySouth.com.


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