Leveraging Leadership Capacity
By: Dr. Femi Skanes
The Leadership EDGE framework for leadership expectations sets forth a standard to promote a foundation of leadership success. However, high expectations alone will not achieve the goal of organizational success. Successful leaders have high expectations and they build the capacity of other people to achieve organizational goals. The Leadership EDGE Leveraging Leadership Capacity Framework encompasses six key levers. The utilization of these levers supports ongoing leadership development and organizational success.
Lever 1 - RELINQUISH CONTROL
It can be difficult to allow others to lead teams and successful projects. The fear of failure and the desire to produce results can make it difficult for leaders to relinquish control. There are other times when it seems easier to complete a project yourself rather than training someone else to do it. Remember that relinquishing control is a necessary step when building capacity in other leaders.
Lever 2 - IDENTIFY TALENT
Every organization has shining stars who excel without much direction. Oftentimes, these people are over utilized while other members of the company or organization are overlooked. Identifying the talent(s) of those who fly under the radar is critical to organizational growth. As a leader, you must first identify the obstacles of your team. It is common that those who typically go unnoticed have not identified skills within themselves. They may also be intimidated by strong members of the organization. It is important for leaders to identify talent and cultivate growth within these individuals.
Lever 3 - ASSIGN IMPORTANT PROJECTS
Developing leadership capacity requires leaders to assign important projects that allow other leaders to flourish. Assigning perfunctory projects that do not have an impact on the overall success and growth of the organization stunts leadership growth. Emerging leaders need opportunities to lead projects that are essential to the success of the organization.
Lever 4 - PROVIDE SUPPORT
Emerging leaders need ongoing support. Dedicated structures that allow for planning, reflection, and feedback help to cultivate leadership skills. Assigning projects without providing time for direction leads to frustration and early burnout.
Lever 5 - ALLOW AND FORGIVE MISTAKES
Every leader makes mistakes. This is especially true in the early stages of a career. It is important to build a culture where emerging leaders can safely make mistakes. Even with the best planning efforts, mistakes are inevitable. Use these mistakes to provide feedback and growth opportunities. Although it can be frustrating and time consuming to correct mistakes, they are an important part of the growth process.
Lever 6 - TRAIN FOR ONGOING CAPACITY
As new leaders emerge in the organization, they should receive training that helps continue the cycle of building more leaders. Utilizing this approach helps to strengthen leadership for the person providing the training as well as the person receiving the training. In order for an organization to thrive, a cycle of ongoing leadership development is vital to the process.