Recently I heard best-seller author and speaker, John C. Maxwell, say, “You have two choices as a leader. You can lead followers or you can develop leaders. And 90% of all leaders lead followers.”
What he was saying is that a lot of leaders are content just to have followers because developing leaders is very challenging, and requires leading with a higher degree of focus and intention.
Leading leaders is difficult, and developing leaders is even more difficult. But if you can lead and develop leaders, your potential is unlimited.
In John C. Maxwell’s book, Developing the Leaders Around You, he writes about the leader’s highest return is forming a dream team of leaders:
- Developing yourself as a leader gives you a good return.
- Developing others as leaders give you a better return.
- Developing a team of leaders give you a greater return.
I have observed over the years leaders who lead followers are loyal to the company and dedicated to their job. They typically work twelve and fourteen hours a day.
However, I have also observed that leaders who lead followers are generally more focused on results (Content – What they want to do.). Their focused is NOT on relationships (Process – How they do things.) which is more on developing leaders.
The importance is to understand we actually need both Process AND Content. We need both the How AND the What. It is not one OR the other. As I have already discussed in previous blogs there are two aspects to Process:
- How we do things.
- How we say things.
In this writing, I will continue to focus on how we do things. How we interact with people to set and purse our goals.
How do you lead?
Focusing on good Processes… as well as Content is a matter of style.
Authoritarian managers are task-oriented and prone to rely on their position of authority when directing their employees. They leave little or no room for their employees to contribute to the decision-making process. In the extreme, these managers expect employees to follow orders without ever challenging them or questioning the command.
By contrast, participative leaders create an open atmosphere. They solicit input from employees at the very beginning of the decision-making process. But don’t misunderstand; they are not asking employees to vote on matters affecting them or their departments. Instead, participative leaders want the benefit of employees’ thoughts before making a decision.
Whether or not you chose to pursue a more participative style is up to you
I have further observed that leaders who lead followers generally have an authoritarian style. They tend to focus ONLY on the results, the Content – what they want to do.
Leaders who develop leaders have a participative style. They tend to understand they need both relationships AND results (Process AND Content). Why? I have learned that more time you spend to develop a stronger leadership team, the more they want to participate in the direction of the organization.
When you understand and implement the two-pronged approach of Process and Content, you’ll multiply your impact as a leader.
Are you leading followers or are you developing leaders around you?