I believe the most important leadership role anyone has in this life is that of a parent.
As a parent my ultimate goal is to raise productive, self-sufficient adults, who go on to achieve and contribute more to the world than I do.
If you think about it, shouldn’t that be the goal of every business leader as well?
Ralph Nader said, “The function of leaders is to produce other leaders not just other followers.” And that is the essence of a true leader – is one who not only inspires followers but empowers them to go on to be great leaders.
So how do we do that? Well, let’s think about it from a parents perspective and there are three simple strategies that I think move us away from enabling and into the empowerment process.
#1. Allow For Collaboration in Decision Making
As a parent you need to let your kids be part of making decisions so that they learn through experience the process as well as the positive and negative consequences of decisions. In the business world, our people need to be able to collaborate and participate in the decision making process, giving them a voice as well as the big picture mindset of all of the parameters to consider.
#2. Give Them Opportunities To Lead
If we want our children to be leaders then we need to let them lead. That sounds simple and equally as applicable in the business world, yet it is hard to loosen the rains. Micromanaging and overseeing every project, initiative, etc… not only burdens you as the leader but it stifles the growth of your people. Let them lead and move into the role of mentor. (Someone who can analyze what worked, what didn’t and where they can improve)
#3. Challenge Them
Leadership requires growth and the best way to stimulate growth is to challenge them. It is in the struggle that the stretching, learning and developing occurs. I am grateful for my parents for pushing me and I am grateful for business leaders who expected greatness from me and gave me the challenge to step up.
Leaders can learn a lot from great parents. I don’t claim to be one, but I know without a doubt that the goal of every parent should be the goal of every leader – To Create More Leaders.