Leadership Is About Enabling The Full Potential In Others05/27/2015 12:00AM
By Glenn Llopis
The 21st century leader must have the ability to make the most out of every situation. They are courageous and not afraid to challenge the status quo and push the boundaries to make things better. Because of these qualities and many others, the best leaders know how to get the most out of people; they enable the full potential in others.
An employee’s success, the lens they see through, the decisions they make and how they navigate their careers are all heavily influenced by the types of leaders they are able to observe and learn from. This is why you will find that many of today’s best leaders were mentored by great leaders themselves (see examples of successful technology leaders and their mentors). Success as a leader is a by-product of the leaders and mentors we associate with throughout our careers.
When managing your career, always be mindful of the leaders, mentors and networks that shaped your leader’s style and approach. When you do, you will begin to understand at a much deeper level how they were influenced to think, act and innovate. For example, the mentors and networks that guided and enabled my full potential were a collection of potent pioneers — explorers of endless possibilities – that today are prominent leaders within the industries they serve. They each brought a unique perspective to my development and their wisdom pushed me to see things about my own leadership capabilities and aptitudes that I had never seen, fully appreciated or understood before.
You know that you found the right leader for your career when they are eager to take an active interest in your growth and success. If your leader doesn’t show interest, this may be an early warning sign that they are the wrong leader for you. So ask yourself, does your leader push you to see the full potential in yourself?
Every employee is different, with their own set of experiences, values, cultural backgrounds, influences and beliefs. The best leaders are those that can identify and appreciate the differences that one brings to the table and knows how to put them to full use. These leaders are emotionally intelligent enough to connect the dots and the opportunities within each dot to enable the full potential in each of their employees.
They know how to take you out of your comfort zone to put your potential to the test. They observe your ability to stretch yourself and whether or not you accept the challenges. You know that you have found the right leader in your career when they never allow you to grow complacent and are constantly testing and helping you develop your skill-sets and capabilities to prepare you for the next phase in your career.
Here are just a few things that leaders do to enable an employee’s full potential:
1. Encourage them to think and act in ways that come most naturally to them
A great leader doesn’t try to make you think like they do. They embrace the natural ways you think and build off of your own strengths. They know your “default settings” by observing the things you naturally gravitate towards (and those that you don’t). The most effective leaders make sure they put you in situations that will leverage your strengths and make you shine.
My organization knows this to be the case when training executives to develop their personal brands as leaders. Our methodology aims to discover and fully leverage the natural potential in a leader’s identity – those authentic skills and characteristics that allow them to unleash their distinction and executive presence to create the most impact and influence for their employees and the organization they serve.
Our research continues to show that regardless of hierarchy or rank, 55% of leaders battle the gulf between assimilation and authenticity. However, when they learn to trust their most authentic identity (those things that make them strong), they realize that it represents the roadmap to their advancement and that of others. They become more self-aware and learn how to course correct when necessary to assure they are always playing to their strengths and maximizing their full potential.
2. Develop their decision-making abilities
Having good judgment and the ability to convert this into sound decision-making are imperative if an employee is to make the most of the opportunities that come their way. A good leader knows how to evaluate an employee’s decision-making blind spots. Many times it’s not just the immediate decision that needs to be made – but the subsequent decisions that must be anticipated before circumstances force our hand. Without the ability to see beyond the obvious, we are susceptible to falling into traps of our own making.
This is where a strong leader will begin to determine where an employee is most and least predictable in how they react to a problem. As they guide them rightly to identify the consequences and probability patterns of each decision, problem solving becomes a treasure hunt of unforeseen opportunities .
3. Expand their performance tolerance threshold
A great leader keeps close tabs on how much each employee is able to handle. They measure their performance tolerance threshold by identifying how well they manage adversity, how they operate under pressure, their willingness to accept new challenges and their overall mental toughness. Enabling their full potential means working on the areas that require further attention and development – so that they will be able to rise to any occasion on their own.
With the right guidance from leadership – encouraging employees to take risks, test their ideas and ideals, and challenge the status quo in an effort to make things better – potential is something that will develop organically over time.
4. Strengthen potential by surrounding it with those even stronger
A great leader knows that enabling potential without a supporting cast that can keep everything in perspective is a zero-sum game. That is why you must surround potential with stronger and complementary pieces. Potential needs to be challenged and surrounding it with other high-potential people can only make it stronger. In the process, employees become wiser and develop a mindset that is not afraid to take chances and experience the lessons of failure.
This is what happens when you are part of a high-performance team. Everyone in the organization has the potential to become a top-notch performer. The key to success is strengthening a strong foundation of talent by surrounding it with more experienced and knowledgeable people. Potential leaders must understand how the game is played so that they can manage their agendas, develop maturity and project executive presence.
No matter how much potential an employee has, it can remain dormant if not managed rightly and properly nourished with the right ingredients. A great leader will never allow an employee’s potential to go unnoticed or to lose its momentum .Realizing potential to its fullest often requires breaking through barriers and creating new paradigms. As such, the 21st century employee must see what others don’t, do what others won’t and keep pushing when prudence says quit. Today’s leaders are not just looking for people to do their jobs better, but to recreate their jobs in their own image – discovering new standards along the way to increase productivity, sustainability and opportunities to impact the bottom line.
Click on the link following for more keynote info: http://www.centerforhispanicleadership.org/PDF/CHL-Glenn-Llopis-Keynote.pdf