On yesterday’s post, we began a discussion of what I believe to be the top four characteristics of a leader.

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Today, we will continue that discussion by focusing on the leadership skill of equipping and empowering those on your team.

What is the definition of equip?

The Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary defines equip as “Providing someone with the necessary materials or supplies, or to prepare someone for a particular activity or problem.”

I think that is an excellent definition.  As I look back on my great mentors – I think the folks at Merriam-Webster had them in mind.

First – they provided me with the necessary materials or supplies.

  • Jack gave me my first personal development book – How I Raised Myself From Failure To Success in Selling Insurance, by Frank Bettger
  • Frank gave me numerous books – the two that had the most direct impact on my life and career were – The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by Dr. John Maxwell; and Endless Referrals by Bob Burg.  Frank also spent the money and time to have leadership and team building events that developed my skills.
  • Bill and Billy were always handing me a book or a tape that would improve my leadership skills.

Other mentors I have had seemed to do the same – they provided me with some materials, and then encouraged me to buy my own.  They advised me to become a great student.  That process had a very definite impact on my leadership skills.

Second – they prepared me for a particular activity or problem.

  • They taught me how to be creative and solve problems by their example.
  • Oddly enough, when I faced challenges, my best leaders never actually told me how to overcome them.  Instead, they asked me questions and had me come up with my own solutions.  They would coach me on those solutions and at times offer alternative suggestions – but the final decision was mine to make.

I have worked with sales leaders who seemed to feel threatened by equipping and empowering the people on their team to become better in their roles.  I have seen others who would equip them; however empowering their team was a real struggle for them.  They wanted to control the work process instead of the work product.

A great leader understands that empowering those on your team doesn’t weaken your leadership – it multiplies it.

A great leader understands that developing those in your charge does not create competition – it creates a legacy.

And a great leader knows that the best possible entry on their career, or  life’s resume is not how many awards they have earned.  It is how many great leaders they have developed along the way.

Go be a great leader!  We need more people on the team!

Please help build the tribe.  Share this post with your friends. 🙂

QUESTION: (actually an assignment this week)

Leaders: for this week, try refusing to tell anyone how to do anything.  Instead, ask them how they think it should be done.  Then post what happened.