Developing leaders is no easy or simple task. It is something that you have to invest in and something that you have to continue to work at and build up over time. In the book “5 Levels of Leadership” the authors talk about people with the innate ability to lead and those who do not have this ability naturally. While anyone can learn to be a leader it takes some form of natural ability to become a great leader.
Developing leadership can come in many forms but most of the true learning is on the job and happens in the moment. Most managers are in their role to manage the day to day operations of the department and make sure everything keeps running. This can make things very difficult for the organization as a whole because there is no one focusing entirely on the development of leadership within the ranks.
Some organizations push developing leadership onto the manager or supervisor role while still expecting them to manage the day to day operations. This can result in managers dividing their time between the daily tasks and developing leadership in their employees. This is a hard balance to find and sometimes can cause tension in the ranks of a large corporation.
A big part of developing leadership in any organization is done through delegation of tasks. This is something that is crucial for any new manager to learn and learn quickly because without delegation they can end up buried and unable to perform the day to day tasks required to keep the organization running. The best way to determine what should and should not be delegated to your supervisors or agents is to determine what they can and cannot learn from.
There are always going to be constant daily tasks that need to be completed and these lower level tasks can be provided to your employees as long as they are delivered properly. This should never be delivered as a way to reduce your workload unless it is to spend more time developing leadership through the organization. Each task that you delegate should have a form of education included with it, whether that is learning the manager tasks or helping to build relationships with others in the organization.
It is the job of a manager to be constantly developing leadership throughout the organization. Managers should be devoting, at minimum, 60% of their day towards the development of future leadership. There has always been a stigma that in order to be a proper manager you need to spend your time in your office managing the day to day operations. This has been developed over the years of organizations requiring this in order for them to keep functioning.
My challenge to any supervisor, manager, director or VP that sits in an office every day is to get out of it. Go sit with your people, sit with your future leaders and provide them in the moment coaching so that they can hone and develop their skills more. I promise that if you do this now the gain will out weigh what you put into it.