One of my favorite leadership quotes of all time comes from Tom Peters, “Leaders don’t create followers, they create more leaders.”
While its certainly a powerful and true quote, I have never met someone who says they have mastered how to do it. So it got me thinking “how do leaders create more leaders?” What does it take to help another person develop into a better, more educated, more well-rounded version than yourself? Here are 5 non-negotiables, if you are going to do this well.
A small ego
Ego is defined as our self-centered, self-serving ambition. The desire to be more than, to be recognized for, or to be elevated above others. It is literally impossible to help create more leaders if you are only concerned with your own self-serving ambition and have the need to be elevated above others. Unfortunately, many of the praised leaders in modern times like Steve Jobs have been put on a pedestal for this type of approach. The result: more young professionals with the mindset that leading is mostly about them and creating people underneath them that must fall in line.
Important to note, confidence is much different than ego. The best leaders I know are certainly confident people.
An open mind
A leader’s mind can be their greatest asset or biggest weakness. David Ossip, the CEO of Ceridian who was highlighted in Forbes said, “If you have an organization that can’t change, it will become extinct.”
Last week on the Follow My Lead Podcast, Whitney Johnson seconded Ossip. “bored people don’t innovate, they get disrupted. If you are in the presence of someone who believes they know it all or aren’t open to new ideas or ways of growing it’s not a real leader.
A humble heart
John Wooden said “Talent is god-given. Be humble. Fame is man given. Be grateful. Conceit is self-given. Be Careful”. Without humility and being grounded in a leader’s heart, they have little to no chance to allow others to visually see it, feel it, and want to emulate it themselves. I like to think of it as, if leaders aren’t humble what are they?
A purpose greater than yourself
Dee Ann Turner taught me a lot about how critical the purpose of Chick-Fil-A’s business was and is to it’s success. Their purpose has remained the same for 40 years, “To glorify God by being a faithful steward of all that is entrusted to us and to have a positive influence on all who come into contact with Chick-fil-A.” Want to know why Chick-Fil-A’s founder, Truett Cathy, created more leaders not more followers with this purpose?
“Nearly every moment of every day we have the opportunity to give something to someone else – our time, our love, our resources. I have always found more joy in giving when I did not expect anything in return.” – Truett Cathy.
Having a strong purpose for existing is one of the clearest and simplest ways to create more leaders in your organization.
A belief more talent is around the corner
Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski is known as one of the best basketball coaches of all time. But what many may not know is over 20 of his former players and assistant coaches are now head coaches at colleges or in the professional ranks. If Coach K had a closed mind and kept all the talent to himself, he would have reached a much smaller number of people. Instead, he created more leaders, and now his influence, values, and beliefs spread to 20+ programs and thousands of other people.
The best part is if you get a reputation for developing talent and helping them move on, you will never have to worry about talent because more talented people will want to come join you.
All 5 of these things reference someone who is a living example of what professional relationships should be all about – helping others become the best version of themselves. When you do, you leave a legacy and your impact will live on well past your time in at an organization or in a bigger picture your time on this earth.
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About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a full-service organizational health company focused on improving culture and developing modern leaders. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. He is also the author of FML: Standing Out and Being a Leader and the upcoming book “The Welder Leader.” You follow him on instagram @johngeades.