In his book, Developing the Leaders Around You, John Maxwell writes, “Varied experiences add incredibly to people’s development. It keeps them growing, stretching, and learning. The broader people’s base of experience, the better they will be at handling new challenges, solving problems, and overcoming difficult situations” (p. 118).
Providing potential leaders with new projects and tasks gives them the skills they need to develop into leaders. Thankfully, this idea helps current leaders because they can get rid of projects they are working on which can easily be delegated to potential leaders. However, this is not an opportunity for leaders to dump tasks that leaders do not want to do onto potential leaders.
Photo Credit: Robert Sullivan
If you are a leader that needs to develop potential leaders, here’s how you can develop those potential leaders.
LEADERS DELEGATE PROJECTS AND TASKS
Leaders must be intentional about what they delegate. Three criteria are important to follow when leaders look for projects to delegate to potential leaders.
- The project must be something that leaders regularly do.
- The project must be something that will develop the qualities and skills of potential leaders.
- The project must be something that potential leaders have both the capability and potential to do.
With those three criteria in mind, current leaders can delegate a new project they have wanted to start but have not had the time. Or, current leaders can delegate some of their recurring work so they have time to start a new project.
FOCUS ON MEASURABLE OUTCOMES FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT
Every CEO, board member, and senior-level manager wants to see results. However, developing leaders is difficult to measure.
One way that leaders can show they are developing leaders is through the results of potential leaders’ work. Current leaders can show upper-level management that new projects have been started or old ones have been improved because of the work that current leaders delegated to potential leaders.
If leaders can show they have been more productive because they delegated work to potential leaders, then current leaders can show the results of leadership development in potential leaders.
I cannot stress enough that giving potential leaders new projects and tasks is not an excuse to dump unwanted work. Busy leaders must think strategically about what projects and tasks they can give to potential leaders for leadership development.