CHICAGO–Of all he has accomplished in his career, Paul Keilzer says he is most proud to have helped more than 50 individuals become powerful leaders of their own. So why don’t more leaders focus on developing leaders within their teams?
According to Keilzer, CEO and founder of Engage Consulting and co-founder of The Talent Games, his experience has found there several reasons leaders don’t develop others. To fix that, he is offering these three failings that once overcome can help turn “passive followers with powerful leaders."
“With the immense pressure of striving for exponential growth in times of rapid changes, leaders have only one priority – deliver results today,” said Keilzer. “With this tunnel vision, leaders spend all their time, focus and energy to achieve financial results and have no bandwidth for developing, coaching and mentoring their teams on growth opportunities.”
Keilzer said that to truly create powerful leaders of the future who can also deliver on today’s results, “have your team members do just that – deliver the results. I’m not asking you to just have them work on the results, but also have them report it directly to your line manager during operational results meetings. Think of yourself as a football manager who’s responsible for coaching the team on how to play the game and helping them exploit their full potential. Sure you’re accountable for the results, however, it’s not you who works the field to score the goals, it’s your team. You plan the strategy, make substitutions, call the game play, however, you don’t play. It’s your team that does all the actions and delivers the results.”
Grooming Beyond Training
Most leaders have this belief that training and grooming is an HR function, according to Keilzer. Hence, their focus is purely on getting work done from their team and leave all the developmental responsibilities on HR, he observed.
“Do you really think you can develop powerful leaders of the future from formal trainings? Think back at your own development and you’ll accept that the most impactful learning experiences didn’t come out of any course you attended. Instead what really developed your leadership mettle were challenging projects, exposure to difficult leaders and even discussions with senior figures in your company.”
Keilzer said leaders must identify what challenges a team might find stimulating to their career development and of course interests them. “Next, articulate what experiences they need to gather to prepare themselves for these challenges and translate it into assignments, projects and their core responsibilities. Make it part of their developmental plan. The idea is to create an environment where experiential learning will walk them through their developmental path of becoming powerful leaders.”
Lack of Self Belief
Even if none of them will admit it, most leaders fear losing their jobs to their underlings, according to Keilzer .
“Hence, they’ll stall their team’s development, stunt their growth, without information and key learnings and even shuffle people around,” he said. “All this just to safeguard their position in the company, which really isn’t under threat in the first place. However, their insecurities cloud their judgment and ability to truly groom and develop powerful leaders.”
Keilzer said that if you’re a leader who really can’t shake off your insecurities and fear of losing your job, then he suggests “you take that fear head on. What would you do if you really did lose your job. What options and alternatives do you have? What opportunities would you tap into? What do you have to do, today, to prepare yourself for this outcome? Once you’ve dealt with the negative consequence of losing your job you’ll be much more confident and secure in your position. Hence, you’ll overcome the fear of your team member replacing you and thus focus on truly developing them, rather than fearing them.”