Get With It!

In Tuesday’s post, we talked about three lessons in equipping other leaders. They include making the commitment, laying the foundation, and making sure that you’re learning together as a company.

Just like the idea of equipping, we can feel pretty good about the whole concept until it’s time to put our leadership philosophies into action. This is especially true when action requires that we, as titled leaders, step out of the title and humble ourselves to learn alongside our team.

Today, I want to highlight five things we need to get so we can get past the most common challenges we face in developing ourselves and other leaders.

1. Get over your authority.

When you’re learning about leadership alongside your teammates, it’s time to step outside your authority. Become a fellow teammate. This opens up communication and gives others permission to hold you accountable.

Does this mean that the team can challenge you? Absolutely! There are times when my team challenges the heck out of me! If I make a decision that undermines what we learned, they call me out on it. This is accountability, and though it can be uncomfortable, it makes me a better leader. Think about it. If you’re not willing to be held accountable to your own leadership principles, how can you hold your team accountable?

2. Get control of your busy schedule.

We can never be too busy to learn. If you set up a weekly Lunch and Learn meeting, treat it as sacred. Schedule meetings around this high-priority meeting. Block the time as unavailable.

3. Get alongside your teammates.

It’s time to hang up your brass! Desire to learn alongside teammates not at your titled level. Learning alongside your team is the best way to develop relationships and a leadership culture that is serious about development.

4. Get beyond your fear of developing others.

Sometimes positional leaders fail to develop others because they fear their teammates will get better than them. They ask themselves questions like, “What if this study exposes my weaknesses? What if I don’t have all the answers? What if I develop people that leave me, or worse yet, become my boss?” Is your pride preventing you from developing your team?

5. Get some expertise.

I cannot over stress the importance of seeking out leadership books and materials to help you equip your team. In my previous career, I took the next generation of leaders in my department, and together we studied The 360° Leader by John Maxwell not once, but twice, via the Lunch and Learn format. They became hungry to lead from the middle, this passion was demonstrated to other departments, and a leadership interest was birthed. Any company dealing with silos or multiple departments should put this book on their Lunch and Learn list.

Now, get to it!

If you haven’t already guessed, one of the best ways I’ve found to get over these five hang ups and put it all into practice is by participating in Lunch and Learn meetings with teammates from various levels within the organization. If we’re going to develop a leadership culture that puts people before positions and understands the value that every team member brings to the table, we must be willing to invest in teammates on a more personal, less structured level. When titled leaders give up their title and join a Lunch and Learn study group, the experience is so much more powerful because it gives teammates of all positions the opportunity to interact with and learn from the leader in a different environment. It also gives the leader the opportunity to share their philosophies in a casual setting. When the leader is willing to share their time in this way, relationships are formed, challenges are issued, accountability is established, and  learning leadership becomes a top priority.

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