Developing Followers or Leaders

Carolyn Lugbill

Are you creating leaders or followers in your association? At a recent global summit for leaders, our speaker Craig Groeschel, founder and senior pastor of said, “When we delegate tasks, we are creating followers, but when we delegate authority, we are creating leaders.”

That statement created an “aha” moment for me: how many times during the frenetic pace of work have I been guilty of handing off tasks, rather than entrusting a colleague with the authority to own it? Without delegating appropriately, you are not building confidence that staff want in a supervisor who believes in them. When you delegate authority, you are demonstrating the “you can do it” mentality and inspiring staff to greater levels of responsibility.

Back in the office, I crafted a new direction and some reminders to help me slow down and delegate appropriately and build leadership among my colleagues. Here are my reminders — what do you think of these?

  1. Give your staff tasks that are challenging and force them out of their comfort zone, but make yourself available to provide ongoing feedback and encouragement;
  2. Make sure you clearly articulate your expectations and the desired outcome for the project.
  3. Don’t step in too quickly if your staff is struggling a bit; allow staff the opportunity to experience failure and learn from it; avoid the “helicopter boss” complex. As we all know, more leaders learn from their failures than their successes. Don’t rob them of this valuable learning opportunity.
  4. Continue to assess your staffs’ capabilities to see which ones rise to challenging projects, and give additional authority to them.
  5. Foster an environment that builds in communications systems that highlight how a staff member’s leadership on a project helps to contribute to the organization’s success.
  6. Acknowledge and provide appropriate recognition on a job well done.

Think and share with me: [email protected].

About the Author

Glenn Tecker

Glenn is a Principal Consultant, Chairman and Co-CEO of Tecker International. He has served in an executive capacity with business, public agencies, and non-profit organizations. Glenn is widely acknowledged as one of the world's foremost experts on leadership and strategy.