Great leaders know that in order to produce, they have to build the production capacity of themselves and of those that they lead and influence. This is true in sports, business, and life. The best leaders that we have researched, studied, and worked with are transformational in their approach versus just being transactional. The brilliance of their leadership style is their ability to get things done while also developing the leadership capacity of others in the process. We call this process “activating the performance of others.”
In our “Invisible Hand of Leadership” program, we felt so strongly about the importance of this concept that we dedicated modules around both the role of being an “Activator” as well as the habit of “activating” the performance of those you lead and influence. It all centers around 2 basic philosophies of leadership:
- Exponential Leadership – the ability to produce beyond yourself in an exponential way, impact, and return on investment
- Generational Leadership – the focus of going beyond just collecting followers who execute tasks to developing leaders who build and transform the team, organization, and culture.
Sometimes, we find the challenge with emerging leaders is that they get so obsessed with producing that they become oblivious to the benefits of building the production capacity of others. Entrepreneurs and people in business development and sales roles that I have coached often refer to this as “working in the business versus working on the business.” This reference is somewhat analogous to the idea of developing leaders and the production capacity of your team and organization. You have to rise above the everyday tasks and transactions and make leadership development a strategic priority.
But how do you do it? Here are 3 quick tips on building the production capacity of others:
- Time – You will never produce beyond yourself if you don’t make and take time to invest in the growth of others. John Maxwell refers to this principle as the “Law of the Lid.” At some point, you reach the “lid,” or limit, of what you can do with the time that you have. No matter how good you are and how productive you can be, you only have so much talent and time. The best leaders prioritize the growth of others not only in their annual goals and role description but also in their weekly calendar. In other words, they act on their intentions. Think about who you can invest in and then begin to schedule regular time with them to help them grow into the leader you know they can become.
- Teach – Great leaders are always teaching and sharing insights with others in order for them to learn, grow, and take those ideas further based on their insights and talent. In leading teams myself, I always try to assign responsibility based on a person’s experience and potential and then support them in the process. I also strive to be purposeful about teaching them things I have learned and having a dialogue with them based on questions and things that they are interested in that I can help them learn and grow faster. The goal is to accelerate their learning through your journey. Teaching begins with developing a “teachable point of view,” which involves drawing clarity around the experiences you have been through and discerning principles from those experiences that can help you and others in the future. Make it a priority to teach in the midst of tasks.
- Trust – Ultimately, growing the production capacity of others becomes a matter of trust with the key question being: Do you trust this person to take on this task? Most leaders rise through the organization based on their ability to produce, not necessarily their skills in building the production capacity of others. Yet, when you arrive at the title of leader, you have to make a shift and learn how to lead which involves producing through others. In order to be an effective, transformational leader, your whole mode of thinking has to shift from “I’ll just do it myself!” to “I need to grow our collective production capacity in order to produce exponentially.” This mindset shift is based on trust. You build trust by giving up control of things you used to control yourself and coaching, encouraging, and giving feedback in the process.
Whether you are a leader in a company or non-profit organization, a leader on your sports team, or a leader at home and in your community, learning to grow the production capacity of others is an important and essential skill. In order to make the most impact through your life, you have to learn to make an impact through others. Great leaders know and realize this, and they also recognize that their investment in others goes way beyond just getting things done. The return is revealed in the changed lives of others and helping them become who they were created to be!
We offer some great leadership, consulting, and coaching programs that are growing and developing the leadership capacity of some incredible organizations like Accenture KPMG, Rice University, NCI Group, SpringSpirit Baseball, Kendra Scott, and Baylor University. We would love to help you, your team, and your organization grow as leaders through one of our leadership programs. Email me to discover how we might be able to help you create an “invisible hand of leadership” that transforms your leadership culture.