I think, and this is my opinion, the leadership challenge a lot of companies face comes from herding talent into two separate pools. We see people on our team as either leaders or followers, and then we nurture them to reinforce the category we placed them in. Followers fall in line and follow more and leaders work their way up the management ladder.
The solution: find leadership traits at every level
At DSI, we believe everyone on the team is a leader. Sure, some take formal management positions, but everyone on our team is a leader in some way. They’re experts in their field and trusted by high profile clients all over the country. Whether it be their workgroup, division or just a customer project, we consider everyone on the team to be a leader.
What does that accomplish?
This perspective changes how we treat people. Sure, this means we expect more of them, but it also means we expect more of our upper-level managers. It’s their job to nurture their team and grow them as leaders not just on the org chart but within their responsibilities.
We shouldn’t just look for leadership traits among the managers of our company; we should search for qualities within everyone and then build those up.
If you see a small glimmer of a leadership trait in someone on your team, you should feed that and nurture it so that the person becomes more confident in their abilities as a leader.
Just as you would cultivate a young manager in your company, you should nurture the leadership traits you spot in every member of your team.
Build cultivation into your leadership strategy
Your leadership strategy should be, top to bottom, about cultivating leaders. Sure, your strategy should align with the business goals you have, but this is about teaching everyone on your team to fish. If you can cultivate leaders among everyone on your team, then leadership is never a problem for your organization.
There are many paths to leadership
You must also recognize there are different paths to formal leadership. At DSI, we conduct Dependent Audits and Working Spouse Audits for clients of all sizes. To support the amount of detailed work required by some of the nation’s leading brands, we have a diverse number of positions. But, because we believe everyone is a leader, then anyone can move up the ladder at any time regardless of where they start. A side bonus of this culture is that there’s no real competition to get to the top because everyone is empowered to be a leader.
A delegation mindset
Lastly, you must develop a delegation (and automation) mindset in everyone on the team. Each person should be tracking their tasks and preparing their position to delegate or automate it later. By doing this, we quickly scale up because everyone on the team is looking to delegate and automate shortly. That keeps us speeding ahead and rocking Dependent Audits for our clients.
We’ve only touched on a few benefits of looking for (and nurturing) leadership traits among everyone on your team. The more you open your mind to finding leaders among everyone on the team, the more you’ll see the real world results of having a team of only leaders.