I've coached scores of successful executives and have observed that the truly exceptional are those who excel at leading through their leaders. Doing so amplifies their team's potential, unleashes momentum, and creates a lasting impact on their organization and the people they influence.
But, how is this different from typical leadership? And what are some effective methods of leading through leaders? Here are some common techniques executives I work with employ:
1. Identify the psychology of your first tier of leaders and galvanize the members around it: Encourage them to do the same with their direct reports, and so on. The ripple effect is powerful as the broader team in time develops a shared identity and purpose.
2. Delegate with purpose: Trust (important word!) your team members with meaningful responsibilities and delegate decision-making authority. Demonstrating you are willing to empower them to take ownership, enhance their skills, and foster a sense of accountability is an undeniable way to show your faith in them. Your high achievers will thrive and their level of commitment will soar.
3. Tap into the collective wisdom of the team: Create an environment where collaboration is encouraged, and knowledge flows freely, even on the tough topics and the occasional misses. Encourage team members to share their expertise, learn from one another, and collectively solve challenges.
4. Create a culture of recognition and motivation: Recognize and celebrate the accomplishments of your team members. Acknowledge their efforts and highlight their successes, both internally and externally. Reinforcing A players' predisposition to achieve par excellence will foster superior results.
5. Cultivate a growth mindset: Encourage your team members to seek assignments, projects, and other work opportunities that challenge them and propel them outside their comfort zones. Provide guidance, resources, support, and mentorship to help them grow personally and professionally along the way. In short order, they will feel confident and capable of tackling bigger and bigger obstacles.
Remember, leading through leaders is about empowering them to prosper, make their mark, and contribute to the overall success of the organization.