I consistently hear leaders, or perhaps I should say people in leadership positions, say that they cannot afford the time required to mentor, coach and develop their people. They are too “busy” doing other things.
These types of leaders frequently say that their people are their organization’s greatest asset. Watch them for a week however and you would see almost no evidence to backup that statement.
Leaders who believe they cannot afford the time to develop their people miss the fact that the primary responsibility of leadership is building people.
Leaders don’t lead companies, they lead the people who make up the company. Leaders don’t lead budgets, they lead the people who manage the budget. Leaders don’t lead plans, they lead the people who follow the plans.
Everything in an organization or business is managed except for the people. The people within an organization or business are responsible for every bit of that organization’s success. Those people need leadership.
Authentic leaders understand that they manage things and lead people. They know that the difference between leadership and management is far more than semantics. They realize that people who feel managed will be significantly less engaged. The morale of people who feel managed will be lower then the morale of people who are led. The growth of people who are led is much greater than that of people who feel managed. In fact, people who are managed have virtually no real growth opportunities.
If you’re in a leadership position and you are not investing a significant portion of your time to coach, mentor and develop the people you lead then you are missing the boat on leadership.
Developing your people is not a question of having the time. It is a question of priorities. If you’ve been telling yourself that you don’t have the time to lead then perhaps your priorities are a bit off.
Make developing your people the priority it needs to be and your leadership will have no end. Fail to develop your people and your leadership will have no beginning.
The choice is yours to make. Will you choose to Lead Today?
If I had a dollar for every time I’ve asked the leader of a business or organization what their greatest asset was I probably wouldn’t care about a paycheck or the stock market anymore.
If I had a half a dollar for every time they answered “my people” I’d be pretty well off too.
A leader saying their people are their greatest asset is the easiest answer they can give. Showing that their people are their greatest asset is a completely different thing.
If you were to watch a typical leader’s actions you would think their greatest asset was their computers or copiers. They typically spend more, way more, on their IT Department for example than they do in their training and employee development departments. In the vast majority of companies it’s 30-100% more.
In most companies the investment allocated to grow their people is near the bottom on the list of budget allocations.
So are your people your greatest asset? Does your budget reflect that? Are you consistently investing in your people or is that an investment that is too easy to cut when budgets get tight?
When you stop and think about it you know investing in your people is the best investment you can make. The challenge for most leaders is that they don’t stop and think about it. They instinctively respond to the urgency of needing “things.” They forget the incredible importance of developing their people.
I understand that other things seem important but they only help your people grow your business. “Things” alone don’t do much for you. Never forget that it’s your people who will grow your business not things.
Investing in anything without investing in your people is a lot like buying an excellent cut of meat without buying anything to cook it on. You could eat it raw but you would likely consider the meat a terrible purchase.
Don’t only say your people are your greatest asset. Invest in their development and demonstrate that you mean it.
Before you were a leader you were primarily responsible for your own success. Once you accepted the mantle of leadership you became responsible for the success of the people you lead as well.
Sadly, too many people in leadership positions never make that transition. That’s one reason they never become Authentic Leaders. They remain in competition with their people for recognition and credit for a job well done. The burden of responsibility for the success of others is too much for them to bear.
That burden however is willingly and sacrificially accepted by Authentic Leaders. They accept the responsibility of investing a part of themselves in another person’s success. They celebrate the success of their people even more than their own.
They demonstrate that willingness by showing their people that they care about them. They see time helping their people as an investment and not an expense. They are available to their people to assist them and offer advice whenever and wherever it is needed.
Authentic Leaders know that their success as a leader will be judged on the accomplishments of the people they lead. They know that their leadership is not about them, it is all about their people.
An Authentic Leader’s focus must be on the people they lead. 70% to 80% of their time should be invested in people development. That development can take on many forms. But there should be very little human interaction where people development isn’t at least a secondary goal.
The glory for an Authentic Leader comes not from their own success but from helping others achieve more than they dared dream was possible. True leaders build others leaders. They encourage, inspire and instigate success in their people.
If you’re a leader who is measuring your success based only on your personal accomplishments then you are basing it on all the wrong things. Unless of course your accomplishments include a solid history of helping other people achieve their own level of greatness.