It’s that time of year when we see the first spring buds emerging from the soil. They’ve been lying dormant or hidden until circumstances are suitable for development or manifestation. This is a tremendous approach to how we should view leadership in ourselves and in the development of others. There’s so much focus on all types of leadership today—Servant Leadership, Bold Leadership, Transformational Leadership—yet we have skipped past the most important leadership of all: Latent Leadership. This type of leader is able to identify existing but not-yet-developed concealed, unrealized, or unfulfilled potential. I love Jim Collins’s book, Good to Great, but what I really hope to do is to go from Good to Growth. I’m not sure I’ll ever really be great, but I never want to stop growing, not even for one day.
Here are three ways to know you’re given room to bloom:
Taught versus Caught: This happens when you go from being merely educated to passionately enthusiastic. You not only possess the knowledge in your head, but it’s embedded in your heart. This opens up your internal dialogue (heart to head) which makes you a more effective external communicator (mouth to ear). When you help someone make this transition, you go from teaching them how to set goals to actually achieve aspirations. You don’t just share the skill, you ignite the will. This awakening will take you from a life of temporary success to one of lasting significance.
Low-Growth Need versus High-Growth Need: You’ll know you’ve reached this stage when you move out of the societal base-camp of Mount Majority. You are no longer content to exist where you are; your focus is on where you are going. They say you don’t find motivation, motivation finds you; and when it does, it will turn on a growth mechanism that will lead you to consistently raise the bar on life. Before you begin any relationship—personal, spiritual, or professional—make sure the other party wants to grow as much as you do. Otherwise, you’ll be sowing your seeds on infertile ground.
Externally Motivated versus Intrinsically Motivated: In his book Organizing Genius: The Secrets of Creative Collaboration, Warren Bennis states that great groups are intrinsically motivated because the people in them enjoy the art of problem-solving. If you do something based on what you get out of it, be it a promotion or greater visibility, that’s not leading, that’s trading. And that’s at the root of someone who’s externally motivated. When you are intrinsically motivated, you don’t just see work as a task, but you see it as a covenant not only to yourself and to the leader, but to the team’s principles as well. This is where the explosive growth of both the individual and the team takes place.Galileo Galilei once said, “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” A leader doesn’t have to be the best; he just has to get others to do their best. So this spring may you have the tremendous joy of discovering latent leadership, and inspiring room to bloom in yourself and others!