Build an Organization of Leaders

Monday, June 18 2012

Today, every organization must be a leader in its field if it is to survive and thrive. The best way to foster such an organization is to develop leadership in each person who works there. True leadership is based on trust and the degree of success an organization achieves is a function of levels of trust both internally and externally. Here are 8 actions to cultivate leaders in your organization.

  1. Create a culture of trust-based leadership by infusing your mission and values with statements about trust.
  2. Build trust, in the eyes of every stakeholder, by being completely transparent about vision, goals, successes, and shortfalls. Nothing undermines trust more than the suspicion that something is being hidden.
  3. Lead by example. Earn trust. Be open about your own goals, successes, and shortfalls.  Demonstrate your trust in others by delegating responsibility and letting them use their skills to get results.
  4. When you hire new people from outside the organization make sure the team knows what assets these new leaders bring to the table. Ensure they epitomize team norms and have already demonstrated the ability to earn a high level of trust. Set clear expectations that new leaders are to earn additional trust before initiating big changes.
  5. People earn trust by demonstrating acceptance of and respect for team norms. Help each team articulate its norms, based on the organization’s values, and coach new people to understand them.
  6. True leadership occurs when someone earns enough trust to propose a new, risky direction and the team follows. Positive results lead to a jump in trust levels. Negative results cause trust to fall precipitously. Coach leaders to evaluate their level of trust before they propose a new direction.
  7. Consider the degree to which others trust a candidate before assigning leadership roles. Use the Results Centred 3600 Feedback tool to gauge this level of trust.
  8. Celebrate every leader’s successes, attributing them accurately to both their actions and to external circumstances. Do the same for disappointing results. Be clear that every effective leader faces risks and occasionally falls short.

Internal levels of trust will impact how the public views your organization. People want to trust your organization. To earn the trust you require in order to lead your field, help everyone earn the trust they need to lead the organization to success.