Organizations spend a great deal of time getting their mission statement down. Some leaders even do the “elevator” test with their team to see if people can say the mission statement anytime and anywhere with clarity. It is critical that your team personally owns the mission of your organization.
But I think we forget that our mission is lived out through people. Our strategy is ultimately a people strategy. To be a great leader, the majority of your time should be invested in developing people. Who are the future leaders of your organization? Can you identify them and do you have an intentional plan for their growth and development? Are you creating a development culture where team members learn from each other? Are you providing the resources (budget) for your key leaders to learn from others outside your organization?
What percentage of your time are you spending focused on your people strategy?
1. Walk around and see people in their work environment.
Get out of your office and walk around. I am amazed at the insight you gain by visiting leaders in their offices. I compare it to visiting in someone’s home. There is a deeper level of knowing someone when you are in their space. Notice the pictures and what they hang on the walls. Ask them how their work is going, how you can help them, and if they need anything from you. Before you leave, ask how you can pray for them. Be sure and thank them for their contribution to the mission of the team.
2. Identify the top three to five people on your team.
Who are the most critical leaders on your team for the future? Make sure you have time with them. Take them to lunch, take them on external trips with you, and ask their opinion on key decisions. Make sure they know how much you value their contribution to the future of your organization.
3. Succession planning.
Lead your organization to have an intentional succession plan for every key role. Spend time with your top leaders reviewing these plans and speaking into them. If you place a high value on developing others, your leaders will lead with development in mind.
4. Hire for the next position.
It is a great goal to hire someone that you see growing into other roles. It isn’t always possible but if you set this as a goal, your organization will be much stronger in a short time.
5. Team as a growth strategy.
Teams are a valuable method for developing others to be more broad-based leaders. Working with others that have different gifts, competencies, and experience, allows others to gain new knowledge and insight into problems or opportunities. It also creates an opportunity for people who are different to learn and value each other. People skills are essential for overall success and teams create a great opportunity to learn the give and take of working together.
6. Personal touch.
Make sure you are aware of the personal joys and challenges of key leaders. The size of your organization may make it impossible to know everyone, but you can know many. We all bring our personal lives to work and it matters that a leader really cares. A phone call about a sick child or aging parent issues will be remembered for years. Stopping to pray with someone makes such a difference.
7. Help someone on your team succeed.
Serve your organization. Make yourself available to help others on your team win. Sometimes that means you pack boxes, take the time to meet someone that matters to the team, or make a trip for a leader because being there matters. When you come alongside someone to serve, you are developing him or her to be servant leaders.
Scripture calls it making disciples. Jesus modeled it well as He poured into twelve men. Ultimately, our people strategy and people development is about making people more like Christ. However your organization defines success, the ultimate success is Jesus.
I would love to hear your story of how someone poured into you or how you are intentionally developing someone else.