According to author Brené Brown in her book Dare To Lead, a leader is "anyone who takes responsibility for finding the potential in people and processes, and who has the courage to develop that potential."
This is one of my favourite definitions so far. I love it. It addresses the 2 key potentials you need to to grow: people and processes. This blog post does not dig into her definition entirely, but it gave me the idea of this post.
If we don't develop the people and use their potential to help them grow to be a better employee, manager or leader, then we may fail at some point. Maybe not now, but at some point the business will move forward and your employees will fall behind. In our VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) world, we must develop everyone's potential to ensure we keep up the the ever changing world. This year, with Covid19, is a great example of that. I am sure studies will come later, but you have to wonder about those companies that develop their employees to those that don't. Which group of employees or even businesses made it and which fell behind? Every day there are stories of retail stores that were not ready, leaders who did not keep up, or even who did not have online shopping and a lot of them are now closed.
Keep in mind that when I say we need to develop the people, this includes you as a leader. You must constantly develop yourself and be one step ahead as a leader so your employees know what to expect. How can you develop yourself? There are so many ways...my favourite is to read leadership books and shared stories. It helps me develop an understanding of what is new, developing, what works and what doesn't. Of course there are many other ways: blogs, websites, social media, courses, seminars, etc. Choose what you think will work as a main way - one that you will enjoy, and use the other resources when you are needing more insight, guidance or growth.
Now, let's now forget the other important key potential - finding potential in processes and having the courage to develop those too. Again, companies that fail to continuously improve or look for new more efficient ways of working, could fail. Just as with not developing our employees, not developing our processes can vitally hurt companies. Don't stay in the past, but work towards the future and ensure you address any key factors that our VUCA world may have on your business. There are several ways of developing your processes too: reading, seminars, following your industries changes, visiting similar businesses to see what they are doing, website reviews of competitors, joining industry meetings, using standardized processes or even industry association social events (where safe to do so), etc.
Your job as a leader it to ensure this development of your employees, processes and yourself takes place on a continual basis. The world changes quickly these days, as leaders you must keep up.
Never forget about mental health either. Ensure you keep yours on track by hiring a coach, meditation, mindfulness, or whatever method works best for you. Watch employees for signs of mental distress too. Mental health issues are not something to look at someone and think "Wow, Suzy just can't do this job. She is stress and so tired all the time. All her work is late." Instead recognize there is an issue and ask Suzy how things are going and if there is anything you can do to help with her workload, etc. Do not ask her if she is mentally sick, has any medical issues, etc. This may go against your countries discrimination laws. If you have a Family Assistance Program, offer that as support too if you feel it is needed. We do not know what our employees are going through, but we want to ensure they know we are there to support them through the tough times, and grow them to be the awesome employees or potential leaders we need.
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Stay safe and be well! Remember - You've Got This!