The best investment you can make as a leader

It’s hard to argue that businesses are getting more complex with each passing day. And I’m not talking about systems, processes, AI, automation, analytics or other complexities that technology’s going to bring to the fold. (Though I honestly feel it’s only going to make our lives a lot more easier). It’s the people. They, sorry, we are complex!

No wonder leading and/or managing a bunch of complex beings is a multi-billion dollar industry and one of the greatest challenges any organisation, big or small, face on a daily basis. While it often feels like a never-ending saga, it doesn’t really have to be that way.

I believe leaders should seriously consider multiplying their capabilities across the organisation a major part of their responsibilities. By that I mean, developing more leaders around them. developing the leaders around them. How? It’s pretty simple and most already know this — building formal or informal mentorship programs is a decent start. But ensure that the programs have you dispensing one of your significant responsibilities to be carried out by one of your (young or old) padawans (or perhaps they’re a rung lower than you). Anything less will not stretch either you or your mentee.

Yes, it is hard work and involves risks, besides having you invest a lot of time. But the payoff, that of having a healthy leadership pipeline, is great for you and the business. Also, I’m of the opinion that if the initiative doesn’t sound risky or insanely difficult, you as the leader aren’t doing enough to develop them. On the other hand, if you’re constantly doubting about your decision, you’re doing it right. I know that sounds counterintuitive but having some skin-in-the-game is needed if you want to make this work.

And while all of this may sound great, I often observe a sense of hesitation or mistrust or just plain old insecurities surface when I bring this up. If as a leader, I experience all of that I need to start developing myself before I could even think about helping others. The essence of leadership is empowering not keeping all that “power’ to yourself. You’ll end up burning yourself!

The best among us are leaders and they become one truly after having multiplied their abilities across the board. Besides reinvesting profits, building a leadership pipeline is one of the best business strategies leaders should work on. And here’s another question you should seriously consider — how willing are you to let go?

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