Effective Leaders Create Environments For Growth

Sometimes leading isn't about being the boss

Leaders sometimes make the mistake of assuming that because they are the leader/boss/manager in the room they have an expectation from others to offer advice, give direction, and own the conversation. Those behaviors may have been what got you your leadership position, but if you want the respect of your followers, it’s time to make a change to your behavior.

Leadership scholars use the term Transformational Leadership to describe a leadership style in which the leader works to transform his followers into leaders. Leaders have years of experience that has given them the confidence of their followers so much so that they tend to think they have all, or most of, the right answers.

You didn’t get those answers, though, because someone taught them to you. You got those answers because someone either asked you the right questions forcing you to think through the situation you’re facing or gave you the opportunity to learn them through experience.

If you want the next generation of leaders to have the same insights and expertise you do now, create an environment where people not only can grow but must.

Give Followers the Opportunity to Experience:

If you are always sharing your experience with your followers and using it to explain why you are micromanaging their decision-making process, then when you aren’t around, they have no experience of their own that will give them a foundation for decision-making. Give them the opportunity to succeed and fail in their decisions.

You are the leader you are because you had the opportunity to learn from experience – now give your followers the same opportunity.

Ask Questions that Challenge Your Followers to Grow

Everyone has their list of must ask questions. Here are a few of my favorite:

How can I lead you better? People know what motivates them. Ask them.

What do you need to get it done? Your people need to know that you’re willing to resource them with what they need to do the job.

What do you need from me to make it happen? I ask this question almost every day of my direct reports. Many times, they don’t realize you have something to offer until you ask them this question.

What can I take off your plate? One of the greatest moments for me was when a boss asked me this question. It made me reflect on the priorities I was facing and where they came from. I had the opportunity to hand off a task and finish up the other things I was working on. It turns out I had so many projects going at one time that it paralyzed me. I knocked out the other assignments and took back the job I handed off.

Are you okay? This is one of the most important questions you can ask your followers. Leadership and management training is filled with lessons on letting people know you care about that situation outside of work they are struggling to handle (dying parent, unruly child, sick spouse.). The problem is that we miss the most important person’s well-being and that is your employee. They appreciate that you asked about their spouse or child, but they need to know you care about how they’re doing too.

Question: What are you doing to create an environment for growth in your organization? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I am an author, speaker, and leader with a passion for developing people into practical leaders who put their principles into practice. I am the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts with best-selling author Dillon Burroughs, the Chief Operations Officer at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and an independent leadership consultant to up and coming leaders and start up nonprofit organizations. My greatest joy, however, is serving Christ and his Church. I am the proud husband of Shay and father of two great boys. We live in Chattanooga, TN. #NoogaStrong

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2 thoughts on “Effective Leaders Create Environments For Growth

  1. Only a couple of the questions worked when I asked these back in the day where I worked. You can probably quests some of the answers I got from some of these.