As leaders, we often find ourselves bridging gaps in our teams - assuming tasks they should be handling, pondering over issues they should be addressing. And in doing so, we deviate from our primary responsibilities. It's frustrating when it feels like everyone is performing below their potential.
So, if I aspire to stretch the abilities of my leadership team, my best bet is to focus on high potentials. They are already growth-oriented, dynamic, and ambitious, and they can make significant strides swiftly with the right attention.
Let's explore the three key conversations needed to make this a reality.
Envisioning the Super Leader: Painting a Picture of Success
To embark on the journey of becoming a Super Leader, the first step is to clarify what that term truly means.
Engage your high potentials in envisioning the impact they aspire to create a year or two down the line. Encourage them to vividly describe this picture of success, delving into the specific behaviours and qualities that would define a super leader.
Guide them in reflecting upon how a super leader would operate differently from their current state: What shifts in mindset, actions, and demeanour would be necessary?
Through this introspective process, help them distill their insights into a simple yet powerful identity shift statement. For example:
In crystallising the shift they're looking to make, they establish a clear roadmap towards becoming a super leader.
(By the way, if you're interested in delving deeper into the concept of identity shift, have a read of my book, Making Time for Strategy)
Daily Practices: Nurturing the Super Leader Mindset
Identifying the desired behaviours is crucial, but true growth occurs through consistent practice. Empower your high potentials to embrace a specific daily routine that aligns with their identity shift.
For instance, if they recognise the need to curb micromanagement tendencies, encourage them to adopt a practice of seeking their team's input and solutions when challenges arise.
This daily ritual becomes a tangible indicator of their growth, both for themselves and for you as their leader. Regularly assess their progress and provide constructive feedback, highlighting instances where they actively embody the behaviours of a super leader. By anchoring their development in actionable practices, you foster continuous improvement and solidify their transformation.
Reinforcing the Super Leader Journey: Consistent Coaching and Feedback
The path to becoming a super leader is not a solitary one. As their leader, it is your role to support and guide them every step of the way. Make it a priority to revisit their transformation during every single one-on-one meeting you have with them.
Remind them of their desired identity shift and inquire about their progress. A simple question like, "How are you doing on that transition from hands-on doer to empowering manager?" can reignite their commitment and provide an opportunity for targeted coaching.
By regularly reinforcing their journey towards super leadership, you create an environment that encourages them to fully embrace their future selves. Offer guidance, share insights, and provide resources that further fuel their growth. With your unwavering support, they will be empowered to step into their newfound role and drive exceptional results.
Realising the Power of the Super Leader Method: Bart's Transformation
We employed this method with Bart, a dependable, enthusiastic leader positioned just below the C-suite. Despite his competence, his peers perceived him as junior due to his inclination to be overly hands-on and reluctance to delegate. Bart participated in our Impact Accelerator programme, which focuses on facilitating behavior-driven identity shifts to rapidly enhance the influence and impact of key leaders.
Bart defined his 'Super Leader' transition as evolving from a short-term problem solver to an innovative business leader. Over a span of approximately 5 months, he cultivated four specific habits aligned with his new identity. The growth he demonstrated was incredible, exemplifying the power of the 'Super Leader' method:
So, I ask you: who is that one leader within your team who possesses the potential to create enormous opportunities if they were to elevate their game?
Apply the three steps of the Super Leader method, and you'll be surprised at the results.