Leaders Raise Leaders

Leadership isn't simply about being the best at what you do, topping the charts, or pulling ahead of those around you. These things certainly make someone an expert, but not necessarily a leader.

So what is that extra something required of a leader?

As we've said before, the mantra here at Trailblazer is: OWN YOUR ZONE, CALL OUT GOLD.

Both are equally important. It's easy as leaders to get sucked into improving our craft, skills, and abilities. While these are all necessary tasks, this can lead us to overlook an important aspect of leadership: raising new leaders.

Calling out gold in people, seeing where those around you are at and meeting their needs in order for them to succeed, is an essential characteristic of all great leaders.

I love hearing successful people talk about wanting their kids, team members, or even mentees, to pull ahead of them in the proverbial race of life. That's what leadership is about.

Someone can be the best boss at a corporation, but what happens when they leave? Maybe they get another career opportunity, they take time for their family, or they retire? Maybe they even just leave for a week?

Who manages things when that boss is gone if the boss hasn't already raised up other capable leaders?

It seems that we often fail to see long term needs, being so wrapped up with what is right in front of us at the moment. Sure, living in the present moment is important, but as a leader, the big picture must be your concern.

This demands that you prepare to replace yourself. This seems odd to some.

"I've worked hard to be where I am." "Why would I give up my position to someone else." "Leaders must be the best at what they do."

I get it. The concept can be difficult. But think about it this way.

Small picture: you get your business or organization up and running and successful. This requires you to be at the top of your game. This requires you to often work tirelessly and thanklessly. 

Big picture: your organization in 50 years, after you've retired, begins to wane and lose influence because, in the midst of needing to be the best, you forgot to help others be their best as well.

Being excellent is important, but for posterity, we must choose to see the people around us and raise them to be great leaders. Maybe even better leaders than us. In fact, certainly better leaders than us.

If we as leaders don't allow others to rise up to our level and beyond, we are creating a ceiling on the potential of what we are doing. In the effort of long term influence, this is asking for failure.

I love what Chip Block said in this week's podcast. Several times as a young person, he had people include him and ask him what he needed and wanted to take his leadership and influence to the next level.

Because of the opportunities given to him in this way, he was able to succeed in many endeavors. But he didn't stop there. Like those before him, he has continued to reach out to those around them to help them succeed in whatever it is they are pursuing.

Who is around you that you can encourage in their leadership and endeavors? It's a lot easier than you may think. Who is a part of your team? Who looks up to you? Who happens to be around you regularly that you could be a little more intentional with?

As you strive in your leadership, seek out those around you and call out the gold in them. It can only help you go further faster.