Leaders Made Here
This occurs for a number of reasons: They don’t see the immediate need, they don’t understand how or are too busy to do it, they don’t walk the talk, and their own insecurities. Leadership cultures are built from the top down.
Miller describes a leadership culture is one where “leaders are routinely and systematically developed, and you have a surplus of leaders ready for the next opportunity or challenge.”
Leaders Made Here is the story of a typical organization that found themselves short when they needed more leaders to fill some gaps and what they did to create a leadership culture.
Frankly, a leadership culture does more than to have leaders in waiting. It provides for the growth and development of all people throughout the organization. It makes whatever you’re doing work better.
To create a leadership culture, Miller boils it down to five ongoing commitments:
1. Define it.
Forge a consensus regarding our organization’s working definition of leadership.
There’s certainly real power in a common definition of leadership; there’s even more power in a common leadership skill set.
2. Teach it.
Ensure everyone knows our leadership point of view and leaders have the skills required to succeed.
3. Practice it.
Create opportunities for leaders and emerging leaders to lead; stretch assignments prove and improve leaders.
We discovered that for most people—leaders included—the natural tendency is to avoid risk. So, when a new project would come along, the leader responsible would assign a seasoned leader regardless of opportunity. It did not matter what was needed; our existing leaders rarely gave an emerging or inexperienced leader a shot. This did nothing to help young leaders grow and develop in a real-world setting.
4. Measure it.
Track the progress of our leadership development efforts, adjusting strategies and tactics accordingly.
A scorecard should answer at least four questions: What is most important now? Is our performance improving or declining? What impact are our interventions having? And are we winning?
5. Model it.
Walk the talk and lead by example—people always watch the leader.
Leaders Made Here is not a bold initiative that comes and goes. It must become what the organization is. It has to become part of the organizational DNA.
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