There is something about leadership that can be likened to sowing seeds and waiting patiently for the harvest to come. If there are no seeds there will only be weeds and certainly, you can’t talk about harvest. Most leaders don’t want weeds – people that are not useful to them – but they are also not willing to sow seeds – invest in people.
This is also like creating a bank account and depositing money into that account from time. You only have the access to the account that you created and you can only draw as much as you have put in there. If you have not put anything there you don’t expect to get anything.
Leaders should see clearly that they must first invest in people before they can talk about using those people. If you just want to pick people you have not invested in you will eventually have problems with them. While some of them may not be deliberately creating problems for you, it’s just natural that at some point they will review your investment in them and respond to you based on that investment.
If you are going to become a really influential person – and you need that as a leader – you must put the people you need to use in front of the task at hand. When you value the people much more than the task then you will see the need to invest in those people and get the best out of them.
Some other leaders see the potentials in people who are working for or with them. Because they are scared of losing these people, they don’t develop or grow these people so that they don’t take those potentials to other places. If someone has potentials and they find out that you are trying to keep them by force, they will eventually leave. But when they have potentials and you help them to maximize what’s in their hands, you might even find it difficult to push them away.
When you are leading within an organisation or anywhere else, you have to make it a point of duty to invest in people and grow them. How do you grow them? You have to:
Spend time with them. The time spent with your followers or subordinates is an investment.
Share your experiences with them. It makes them connect easily with you.
Teach them what you know. They feel empowered and still appreciate you for this.
Transfer skills to them. They will forever be grateful when they look back and remember who gave them the skill that now gives them more opportunities.
Get to know the people you are leading. No one wants to follow a stranger and that’s what you are if they feel you don’t know them.
Always emphatize when there is need for such. If you don’t emphatize you will lose even the most valuable followers and potential leaders that you have.
Share or give platforms to your followers. When you share your platforms with your followers or you even give them your platforms, it helps them know that you trust them. Apart from the trust they also see that you are investing in them.
Don’t suppress anyone with a gift. Help them build it instead. Show them how to use the gift positively.
I know a man who didn’t let one of the people who used to be his protégés know that he has a pastoral gift and calling. For years he kept this person. Other people even told this person about his gift but because the mentor did not open up on it, the young men just stayed where he was until after about ten years.
You will become a great leader of influence not just by achieving results through people but by growing the people as you lead them. From today, don’t just try to lead. Grow the people and leadership will be easier for you.
Fola Daniel Adelesi
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