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By design, every human being has the capacity, potential, and raw material to become a leader. You don’t need title and position to lead. It’s a tragedy that most people living on Earth today will bury the leader trapped within them in the grave of a follower. Many of us are products of our environment, lacking the will and the courage to change, to develop our potential and become who we are born to be. That’s why leadership development inside organizations is so vitally important. Not only do our organizations have a chance to develop our future leaders, but also to produce better human beings to live in their communities. But that’s a real challenge for businesses.
Becoming a true results-oriented leader is not easy. It’s true that every human being is born with the ability to lead, but they must develop themselves to become a leader, just as a person born a male must go through development to become a man. (The same applies to females becoming women.) And regardless of title, you cannot be a leader without followers. Being a leader is not being a manager. Being a leader is not being a boss. A person who has subordinates but has no followers is not a leader.
A leader is one who leads others to leadership. A leader leads themselves first and, by so doing, inspires others to follow them.
Today, organizational leaders know intuitively they need to create an environment that produces leaders, but they’re sometimes confused on the strategy and tactics of doing so. Great companies are developed from the inside out, not the other way around. And while customers are ultimately important, they’ll receive treatment and service based on what is already present inside the company — improving the inside automatically improves the outside, and that improvement happens through development. Here are a few points business leaders should consider when building a development-oriented culture of leadership.
Tony Richards is an organizational and executive development expert and CEO of Clear Vision Development Group, a leadership and strategy firm in Columbia, Missouri. He is one of Inc. magazine’s top 100 leadership speakers and thinkers. His firm’s website is www.clearvisiondevelopment.com. Follow Tony on Twitter @tonyrichards4.