Your business is more than likely to experience disruption at some point.
In order to survive, and even thrive, you would do well to have the requisite leadership capacity on board. But how is organisational leadership nurtured and grown?
Leadership ability varies from person to person. Growing this ability is an opportunity open to everyone; the right environment just needs to be provided. One thing is certain though – leadership ability is unlikely to develop solely through reading articles or attending courses/workshops because these scenarios do not offer the space to practice.
All skills, from hitting a tennis ball to balancing on a fence, require practice for improvement. The difference between leadership and a skill such as hitting a ball, is that the chance to improve the latter is way more accessible than the chance to improve the former. Prioritising time to practice leadership capacity is much needed in a frenetic world, yet the skill lies in an employer affording their employees just the right space for this to occur.
I have come to learn, through working with up and coming leaders through Lockstep’s Aspiring Leaders Programme, that developing leadership requires a crucial ingredient – space. The space to fail, the space to develop at an appropriate speed, the space to practise leading and the space to offer and receive opinions. A mentorship programme without space will stimulate, but not fully educate. All things in life need space to grow, and leadership is no different.
What should you consider when creating space for the aspirant leaders in your organisation?
Here are four recommendations:
- Question: create space to allow up-and-coming leaders to ask tough, strategic questions of their superiors. This will catalyse an increased engagement level and unlock crucial growth in their ability to navigate complexity.
- Collaborate: offer aspirant leaders the space to take on a new leadership project and watch as their inherent networking skills take shape.
- Rise: allow your leaders the space to rise to the challenge of taking on a new initiative in your organisation; and to thereby enhance their strategic and persuasive skills.
- Practise: reframe disengaged or under-stimulated employees as potential leaders by removing them from their desks, and providing them with the chance to stimulate a skill set that’s been lying dormant.
When humans are confined to comfort, certainty and monotony, they are unlikely to grow. When offered the opportunity of a space in which they can be challenged (with appropriate accountability, of course), they are given the chance to grow – and essentially lead.
My challenge to you, as business leaders, is to create a space for the future leaders in your organisation
You can do this by:
- Creating an environment where they are vigorously encouraged.
- Providing regular feedback.
- Maximising their learning by providing guidance and support along the way.
Growth is not linear, meaning space for failure along the way will allow your organisation to build the capacity to handle disruption in the future.
So: What have you done in the last four weeks to create space for someone to grow? Have you considered what would happen to your business if no-one ever does?