Level 4 – People Development: Helping Individual Leaders Grow Extends Your Influence and Impact

I hope you’ve been enjoying this series of posts, giving you a sneak peek at my new book, The 5 Levels of Leadership. So far, I’ve given an overview and talked about Levels 1, 2, and 3. Today’s post is about Level 4: People Development. Here’s a reminder of all five levels and how they build on each other:

Level 4: People Development

Effective leaders understand that what got them to their current level of leadership won’t be enough to get them to the next one. They understand that if they want to keep getting better as leaders, they have to be willing to keep growing and changing and that each move up the 5 Levels of Leadership requires a paradigm shift and a change in the way a person leads.

On Level 3, the emphasis is on personal and corporate productivity. The ability to create a high-productivity team, department, or organization indicates a higher level of leadership ability than most others display. But to reach the upper levels of leadership that create elite organizations, leaders must transition from producers to developers. Why? Because people are any organization’s most appreciable asset.

To reach the upper levels of leadership that create elite organizations, leaders must transition from producers to developers.

Good leaders on Level 4 invest their time, energy, money, and thinking into growing others as leaders. They look at every person and try to gauge his or potential to grow and lead—regardless of the individual’s title, position, age, or experience. Every person is a potential candidate for development. This practice of identifying and developing people compounds the positives of their organization, because bringing out the best in a person is often a catalyst for bringing out the best in the team. Developing one person for leadership and success lays the foundation for developing others for success.

Bringing out the best in a person is often a catalyst for bringing out the best in the team.

Peter Drucker observed,

Making the right people decisions is the ultimate means of controlling an organization well. Such decisions reveal how competent management is, what its values are, and whether it takes its job seriously. No matter how hard managers try to keep their decisions a secret—and some still try hard—people decisions cannot be hidden. They are eminently visible. Executives who do not make the effort to get their people decisions right do more than risk poor performance. They risk losing their organization’s respect.

How does this emphasis on people and people decisions translate into action? Leaders on the People Development level of leadership shift their focus from the production achieved by others to the development of their potential. And they put only 20 percent of their focus on their personal productivity while putting 80 percent of it on developing and leading others. This can be a difficult shift for highly productive people who are used to getting their hands dirty, but it’s a change that can revolutionize an organization and give it a much brighter future.

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