Good leaders deliberately seek out and find potential leaders. Great leaders not only find them, but also equip them to be great leaders.
Three Stages of Equipping
Stage One: Position Gives You a Platform
Adding value is the essence of equipping others, and you can add value in any direction: to your superiors, peers, or followers. Obviously, you have the most authority when you’re the boss. However, even if you aren’t in charge, you have immense capacity to equip others through the ideas and resources you share. When it comes to equipping, proximity matters just as much hierarchy. You’ll naturally influence those closest to you: whether you’re above or below them on the organizational chart.
Stage Two: Respect Gives You Permission
People naturally follow leaders stronger than themselves. That’s the Law of Respect. Consequently, people will dismiss your attempts to equip them until they’re able to assess whether or not they respect you. Respect is earned over time by demonstrating integrity with people and effectiveness in delivering results.
Integrity with people involves a harmony of beliefs, values, and actions. As others observe you to be hard-working, honest, and consistent, they begin to appreciate your strength of character. While they may not like you or have a connection to you at this point, at least they respect you.
Your reputation for delivering results develops daily as you carry out the assignments that come your way. If your performance is uneven—you do some tasks well, but others poorly— then others will lose respect for you. However, if you repeatedly work with excellence then your co-workers and managers will take note and begin looking to you for leadership.
Stage Three: Likeability Gives You Persuasiveness
All good equipping relationships are founded on a personal relationship. As your people get to know and like you, their desire to follow your direction grows. If they dislike you, they will not want to learn from you, and the equipping process can slow down or even stop.
To gain the goodwill your coworkers, show genuine concern for their wellbeing. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Be intentional about taking an active interest in those around you at work, and add value to them in whatever ways you can. Focus on their needs and their aspirations before seeking to advance your own interests.
One of the best ways to get to know people is to see them outside of the world where you lead them. People are usually on their guard at work. They try to be what others want them to be. By getting to know them in other settings, you can get a glimpse of who they really are. Ask questions about their life story and try to discern what motivates them. If you connect with someone’s heart, they’ll be glad to offer you their hand.