The most important function in a free society ~ Leadership.
A few weeks ago I received an email from Hans Schatz, Vice President of Worldwide Sales for Food Services of America, asking me the following questions:
What is Leadership in the business world? How would you describe it to a college student that is wanting to understand and learn?
With that stated, how would you go about building great leaders at a high level in an organization (division presidents, vice presidents, and corporate senior staff)?
His request came in late Friday. I opened the email on Saturday. Since there seemed to be some urgency, I did something I almost never do; I sat down and personally typed a response. This is what I wrote:
Empowering leadership is the ability to communicate in ways that secure the aligned engagement of those whose discretionary efforts your enterprise’s success depends on. The successful leader’s followers grow in stature as they champion and sacrifice for the leader’s cause; they play over their game, outperform their former bests, and discipline their peers to ensure team alignment and a consistent winning effort.
You first select people with strength of character, honest, forthright, wi th uncompromising integrity. You imbue them with a worthy ideal, a cause worth sacrificing for. You communicate in ways that ensure all of their work tasks are seen in an inspirational context. You are modeling for them what empowering leaders do, and they must begin to do naturally. As you expand their role, you draw on their natural abilities, while stretching them just beyond the edge of their current capabilities. You are growing them beyond their current stature. Assignments are agreed on as responsibilities for results to be achieved, not tasks to be performed. You ask for their action plan, listen carefully, offer feedback on their insights, and
counsel on any of their oversights. You establish agreed-to check-ins with feedback on achievements-to-date at appropriate mileposts which are agreed to as a part of their plan. Simultaneously you ensure they get the specialized training they will need for their next assignment, one step ahead of their advancement – accounting and finance, IT, soft skills, and specialized job knowledge. You let them fail. You coach them in the self-awareness required to learn from all experiences. You help them develop the rare ability to learn as much from their successes as from their failures. You repeat the above until they have developed such self-awareness that they can coach themselves. Your job is to help them develop this rare selfawareness to be their own coach, their own counsel. As you help them grow in their expanded sense of self-direction, one of your most important jobs is to help them understand those around them need their encouragement, praise and support. They become the counselor . . .
You will find on the attached the responses of several other leaders Hans respects. Since leadership and succession planning are of paramount importance, we are passing these responses on to you. If you would like to add your response to these questions, we would enjoy hearing from you.
To learn how Turbo helps you accelerate the development of your executive and expanded leadership team, just click here and we will happily give you a call.
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