Successful leaders grow their own replacements by coaching them along the way. Think of it as your own organic garden; you plant the seeds, water when required and take a great deal of care to make sure all your plants grow up straight and healthy. Your organization, be it big or small, deserves the same care and attention.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, the Navy recognizes mentorship as a critical component to effective force development. A healthy attitude, considering internal promotions are the norm for military forces due to their specialized nature and organizational cultures.
The business world calls it coaching. Candice Francovelgia does a great job of outlining some of the basic principles that should help us train tomorrow’s leaders. The emphasis is on creating self-starters that have the independent thought and emotional intelligence to succeed. This means that we don’t lecture; we ask thought provoking questions. We don’t hand deliver solutions, but patiently guide people in the right direction. We don’t solve their problems, we listen to their solutions and help them find the way. After all, we want to provide opportunities to develop and flex muscles, not a crutch with which to limp along to mediocrity.
Interesting fact: 63 per cent of companies indicate that they engage in mentoring while remainder say they plan to. Ask yourself the simple question – are you growing your leaders or are you with the 37 per cent non-starter crowd? Either way, food for thought.