developing leaders by letting go

By January 13, 2010Leadership

The mistake many leaders make is to delegate responsibility without giving the proper authority needed for the recipient to develop and grow.  The word for this is discretion.

For younger leaders to learn how to lead, they’ll need the discretion to make decisions.  By making decisions, they’re learning to how exercise discernment and what it means to live with the consequences.  By drawing the boundaries too tightly, we are actually encouraging them to follow instructions rather than create and implement ideas.

Rather than develop leaders, it may actually result in developing one of the following:

  • hack, n. … 2. a professional who renounces or surrenders individual independence, integrity, belief, etc. in return for money or other reward in the performance of a task normally thought of as involving a strong personal commitment: a political hack
  • drudge, n. 1. a person who does menial, distasteful, dull, or hard work. 2. a person who works in a routine, unimaginative way….
  • cog, n. 1. (not in technical use) a gear tooth, formerly esp. one of hardwood or metal, fitted into a slot in a gearwheel of less durable materials. 2. a cogwheel. 3. Informal. a minor person in a large organization, movement, etc. (261)

Our task is not to produce hacks or drudges or cogs.  We’re given the task of producing leaders.  What do leaders do?  They lead.

Will young leaders make mistakes?  I certainly did.  But guess what?  I still do!

Will  young leaders do things differently than we will?  Absolutely.  We want them to.  The world is changing.  Time is marching on.  What worked yesterday is not guaranteed to work tomorrow.

Will young leaders grow any other way?  No.