Flipping the Switch that Develops Leaders

I asked Barry Posner, bestselling co-author of “The Leadership Challenge” if he was a leader. In a quiet, unassuming voice he said, “I’m a leader, follower, and a colleague.”

I asked Barry when he realized he was a leader? He said, “I can’t recall a specific time.” He thought while I waited,

“My parents always asked for my opinion.
They let me know my opinion mattered.”

I thought immediately of the first chapter in “The Truth about Leadership”. Posner, along with his colleague Jim Kouzes writes,

“Leadership begins when you
believe you can make a difference.”

The gift of listening ennobles and enables others.

Flipping the switch:

If leadership begins when you believe you matter, leadership development begins when you help others believe they matter.

Once you believe you matter
help others believe they matter.

Asking and listening helps people know they matter. Posner said, “Think of your worst boss. What made that boss the worst? They never asked for your opinion and when you spoke up, they didn’t listen.”

Helping others feel they matter:

  1. Follow them. Lead others into leadership by following them. Give them authority and follow their lead.
  2. See excellence as a process not a destination.
  3. Withhold insignificant criticisms.
  4. Train them.
  5. Celebrate progress.

Inspiration on helping others feel they matter from Facebook:

  1. See potential. Potential lies just below lack of confidence.
  2. Assign or elect to new positions.
  3. Look to them for their opinion.
  4. Give responsibility.
  5. Express gratitude for them.

The most powerful leadership
development tool is belief.

When did you realize you mattered?

What comes after believing in someone, in the leadership development process?

Must reading: “The Leadership Challenge”