Equipping and Nurturing your People

One of the marks of a good leader is that he or she develops others into leaders. They take the time to equip others. According to John Maxwell, if you leave your organization to pursue other endeavors, and your organization falls apart, then you didn’t do your job.

Most, if not all, lofty endeavors require teamwork to render them successful. Relationships within an organization, especially those of individual teams, are key to its success. And the leaders within the organization, from the top CEO to individual team leaders have responsibilities to create a leadership culture. Relationships will be the foundation of this culture.

It is important for the individual members of the teams and organization to know that their leaders have a genuine concern for them. That they are thought highly of. That their well being is considered. Nurturing others is a significant part of this process. Respect, love, and trust are key values here. People just want to know that their leaders have their back. They don’t want to feel a knife in it later.

It would be accurate to say that because of uncertainty in today’s world, most workers face a lot of anxiety in the workplace. A leader has an opportunity to build trust by taking the time to encourage his or her constituents, as a whole and individually. There is potential in all people, it might need some prompting, shining, nudging, uncovering, refining, and aligning to reveal it. This takes real effort on the leader’s behalf, and even the willingness to be vulnerable at the times. A healthy self esteem is essential in the leader’s life in order to get their hands dirty in people work. When people feel safe around their leader, they are in a prime position to take on the tough challenges that a leader sets forth, as long as the leader also gives good direction, clarity in vision and goals, constructive feedback and accountability.

The idea of equipping comes from the idea of a fisherman repairing his net. A leader is in the business of evaluating his people, and seeing where they can grow, and then nurturing that growth. Giving your folks the resources they need is essential for them to grow in their day to day challenges. One on one mentoring and quality group training must not be neglected. Emphasis on quality. I know that in my current work endeavors, training has been reduced to sitting at a computer terminal for 30 minutes at a time attempting to digest rehashed material every 6 months. There is virtually no coaching in a positive light. When you are coached, it is because you’ve messed up. It is a reprimand, not an attempt to equip the individual for success. I could go on, but digress. An investment in quality training for your people will show them that you are concerned for how they do their work.

Empower your people. Give them the power to make decisions on how to do their work, as long as it gets the job done. Set some boundaries, of course, but let them do their work. If they are coming to you to get permission to do their work, then something is wrong. If they need to take care of a customer or client issue, let them do it. This is, of course, assuming that the customer/client is indeed important to the organization.

These are just a few ideas on how a leader can invest into the well being and success of his or her people entrusted to them. People don’t necessarily want a best friend as a leader. They do want someone who is generally likable, trustworthy, respectful, and considerate of their well being. Not a nice guy or gal. But a good guy or gal. There’s a difference.

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