The Leadership Leap

The Leadership Leap

Leaders who develop followers grow their organizations one person at a time. Leaders who develop other leaders multiply the growth of their organizations. For example, if a leader develops ten followers, they have the power of ten people. If a leader develops ten other leaders, they have the power of the ten leaders plus all of their followers. When an organization increases its leadership capability, the quality and quantity of the people it attracts increases as well.  The greater the goal or objective, the more leadership capability matters in achieving success.

If a leader’s core responsibility is to develop other leaders, how do you know when a high performer is ready to make the leadership leap? There are many factors to be considered, but one of the most critical is identifying a person’s level of vanity. Vanity is excessive pride in one’s personal abilities and achievements. While leaders are concerned with the success of other people, high performing, high vanity individuals are concerned with their own success. They use “I” versus “we” to communicate achievement and results.

Leaders are also interested in organizational performance and value being part of a team. High vanity individuals are only interested in their personal performance. Leaders get energized by the development, growth and success of other people. High vanity individuals feel insecure and threatened by the success of others. Consequently, high performers that demonstrate the traits of leaders should be considered for the leadership leap. High vanity individuals should not be considered unless they can demonstrate significant improvement in the following three areas:

  • Humility – Do not talk about yourself. Talk about the team and the contribution of others. When successful, give credit to other people, external factors or being lucky, but never to yourself. When unsuccessful, only blame yourself. Look out the window to credit success and in the mirror to take responsibility for failure.
  • Influence– Driving results and impacting change requires successfully leading and influencing others. Exceptional performance is most often achieved by attracting the best people to projects and teams. Being narrowly focused on individual performance and self-promotion will repel the best people and limit career advancement.
  • People – Nothing of significance is ever done alone. It is done with other people. Leaders help people win. They help bring people from where they are to where they want to be. People follow leaders because of what they do to help them grow and succeed. When the organization and its people win, the leader wins too.

It is important to note that confidence is not the same as vanity. Confidence is the belief in one’s personal abilities. Vanity is the excessive pride in one’s personal abilities. All effective leaders are confident. In fact, people will not follow leaders who are not confident in themselves. High vanity individuals, however, do not engender followership. People believe that they only do things for personal gain or to increase their ego, not to achieve organizational objectives. As a result, the distinction between confidence and vanity must also be part of the leadership leap evaluation.

All contents copyright © 2012, Josh Lowry. All rights reserved.

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