The natural growth of a leader is from doer to developer. But it is so rarely put in these terms. Those that are good as individual contributors are promoted to positions of leadership, but the skill set required is quite different.
In my younger years I made my professional mark as someone who got the job done. I was an executor of various tasks. But when I moved up the ranks I found that my job revolved around developing those underneath me. Some in positions of leadership lament that the majority of their time is spent “baby sitting” adult behavior.
But if we find ourselves in this funk, we need to re-evaluate the criticality of our roles. In, Leaders Without Borders, author Doug Dickerson points out teamwork should be a blessing, not a burden.
Leading a team takes a blend of coaching, disciplining, and motivating. In essence, we are the sower of the seeds into the fields of those whose development we are entrusted with. If we resort back to the role of reaper, as is often the case, we leave the role of leader vacant and future fields barren, incapable of bearing any fruit.
At the dedication ceremony of Disney World in Orlando, Mrs. Disney was asked to give the comments as her husband had already passed. The emcee commented he wished Walt could have been there to see this development. Her response? “He did.” Leaders see the possibilities of future developments long ahead of everyone else. It’s called discernment and is the rarest of leadership traits.
Do we see the potential in those we are leading and sow the seeds accordingly? We are responsible for the eternal harvest that they will eventually reap. Making sure your team continues bearing fruit long after your departure is the surest mark of a true leader. Your legacy is your eternal harvest as a leader. Make sure it’s a bountiful one.