When writing my latest book, Be An Inspirational Leader: Engage, Inspire, Empower, I knew I wanted to include a section about raising up other leaders. Initially I titled that section “Implement a Leader-Development Strategy.” But as I thought about and worked on that particular chapter and really dug into the research, I realized that implementing a specific strategy to develop leaders is far less effective than nurturing a culture of leader development.
While there’s nothing wrong with having a strategy (and I included several examples in the book), strategies and processes are inherently limited. Instead, I believe a thriving culture where leader development is the norm has a greater and more widespread impact. As Tim Stevens put it in an article for Entrepreneur, “It’s just better when leadership development is in the air you live and breathe rather than a process to follow.” Stevens went on to explain,
“A successful leadership culture can’t be seen, touched, or picked up, but it permeates a business at every level… it is more of a philosophy, a way that you think about the people on your team and in your organization.”
I think this philosophy accurately reflects the attitude and actions of inspirational leaders; they think of everyone on their team as leaders in the process of being further developed.
Again, specific strategies for developing leaders are important. But don’t settle for a good strategy and miss out on the incredible effectiveness of a culture of leadership within your organization!