Sunday, April 14, 2013

You Must Help Them Grow or Watch Them Go

 My Lesson at Level 4 Leadership

I was impacted recently when one of my employees left my team to pursue opportunities outside of my company.  That event and a review of my own career opportunities motivated me to study the role of growth and employee development in leadership.  I had to face the reality that the team member left my team because I had failed to fully understand and act on the development needs of the departing team member.   Leaders need to be people developers.  You must help them grow or watch them go. 
The imperative this leadership role was validated for me with a review of the John Maxwell book, The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potential.  Maxwell’s levels provide a framework to measure and grow your leadership abilities. 
In this framework, all leaders start at the bottom (Level 1)  and grow to higher levels of influence.  Levels 2 – 4 represent a hierarchy of skills that you earn as a result of your relationships, problem solving and development.  Few leaders reach the pinnacle (Level 5).  Each level builds on the previous level and you progress to the next level after mastering and maintaining the previous level.

Maxwell’s 5 Levels of Leadership
The Maxwell book provide great insight but you can also get a sample of the framework directly from Maxwell from the YouTube embedded below.

The Maxwell framework helped me pinpoint that I had personal development of my own in order to occupy a Level 4 position. 

Level 4 Best Behaviors

Here is a quick list of the best behaviors and guidelines of Level 4 People Development leadership.
1.  Find the Best People Possible – A good team starts with good people with the right chemistry, character, capacity, and contribution.  Maxwell quoted coach Lou Holtz who said, “I’ve had good players and I’ve had bad players.  I’m a better coach with good players.”
2.  Positioning – Placing the Right People in the Right Position.  A leader must understand the strengths and weaknesses of their team and put people in a position to succeed.  I have previously written about this as the Tom Kelly approach in Lead like a Teacher - Find the Right Role. 
3. Modeling – Showing Other How to Lead.  It is simple.  Model what you want to see in others.
4.  Equipping – Helping Other Do Their Jobs Well.  Leadership is not just delegation.  It is delegation along with support, coaching, and mentoring.
5.  Developing – Teaching Them to Do Life Well.   Good life skills help a person create a a foundation for success. 
6.  Empowering – Enabling People to Succeed.  As Maxwell write, “you need to trust them, believe in them, and hold them accountable. 
7.  Measuring – Evaluating Those Whom you Develop to Maximize their Efforts.  This is a simple behavior that proposes that you evaluate and keep score in order to learn and grow. 
I discovered many new leadership insight in the Maxwell book.  I would recommend quiet leaders explore this insight.
Thanks for reading.  Please lead quietly as people developers.