Good leaders equip their people to be great at their jobs. Great leaders go beyond the workplace and mentor individuals so they can live well.
That sounds great, doesn’t it? It shows that as a leader you really care if you go to the trouble to do this. But how do you pull it off?
First, you have to have their permission to do it. This means you will have invested in getting to know them, their strengths, and where they desire to excel.
Second, you have to be willing to be critical, but not like you might think.
When a people developer looks for weaknesses, he isn’t just doing to be petty. He’s not just doing it to fix problems, although he does want them fixed. He’s more observant than that; he digs deeper. He looks for blind spots in that person’s thinking. He finds out who that person is following who might lead him astray. If there are problems at home, he knows that these can adversely affect his performance at work and takes the risk to step in and help.
This kind of examination is risky. It can breed resentment and charges of prying from anyone who is made to feel they are in the cross-hairs of your personal gun scope. You have to be careful. You absolutely must have earned a person’s trust to do this at all. Once you approach them with what you’ve found, there’s no turning back. The ground must be prepared before you have any hope of succeeding at helping someone this way.
But if you do succeed, it can be the most rewarding experience you’ll ever experience.
Thirdly, there are some practical ways you can encourage someone to excel at what he’s good at. You can introduce him to books that will sharpen his sword. You can send him to a seminar that will give him new information that will hone his edge. You can give him projects that will allow his light to shine and make your organization extraordinary.
Once you done all these things, you have to be willing to follow up. This will make you a mentor. Take this role seriously. You’ll be a personal coach, a sounding board, and a cheerleader to that person for as long as you’re interested in his success.
It’s a great way to invest in someone’s greatness.