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James Pepper Rutland, Baton Rouge, on How to Create the Next Generation of Leaders

Anyone who is in a position of authority at their company most likely feels as if the world is on their shoulders. Decisions, responsibility, and ultimately the results stop with them, which makes it vital for them to make the right call.  One of the best ways to alleviate this pressure is by developing leaders […]

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Anyone who is in a position of authority at their company most likely feels as if the world is on their shoulders. Decisions, responsibility, and ultimately the results stop with them, which makes it vital for them to make the right call. 

One of the best ways to alleviate this pressure is by developing leaders at their company, which doesn’t happen by accident. Leaders are created intentionally; here’s how it’s done. 

1. Locate Talent 

Every company has people who seem to go above and beyond their regular work or demonstrate the ability to lead others to do so. It’s important to know the difference between people who are actually star players and those who only want the spotlight. Putting people in roles of responsibility that are only there for the power can lead to a self-serving glory-hound that will only do what is in their best interest. True superstars always look out for the team first. 

2. Develop Talent 

Before a potential leader is placed in a position of authority, they have to be given a set of guidelines by which to develop. Teach them to evaluate risks, consider any possible alternatives to their course of action, and consider what the ramifications of their choices may be. It’s only once they’re able to see the big picture that they’ll be able to make the right decision. 

3. Stay Hands Off 

One of the worst things a current manager can do is to be overactive in their proteges design-making process. Too much guidance and they’ll never feel like they can stand on their own two feet, which only sets them up for a lifetime of low confidence. Resist the temptation to micromanage; instead, clearly define what the parameters are of their decision abilities (i.e. “any more than this, come ask me”) and step back. Allow them to make their own decisions – and failures – and only step in when you feel it’s necessary. 

4. Keep Them Accountable 

While a potential leader needs to be allowed to make their own decisions, they also need to be held accountable for what they’ve done. If they haven’t met expectations, tell them in a way that makes them want to do better instead of tearing them down. At the end of the day, deadlines and budgets matter, and they need to know that.

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