6 Proven Patterns for Building Leaders Worth Following

I live in the freezer belt. In fact, in review of the 50 coldest cities in the United States, I can proudly say I live within a snowball’s throw of the top ten coldest neighbrrrrrhoods in America. Yes, the winters can be harsh and can actually take a negative toll on one’s mental and physical well-being.

walkway of airport

Maintaining perspective and a healthy leadership psychology can also be difficult when dealing with the “chilly extremes” and bitter patterns that control many of our work place cultures today.

Chasing the False Positive

I was reading an article recently about Spanish explorer, Juan Ponce de Leon and his first European expedition to Florida. Remember his legendary search for a fountain of some sort? Mr. Ponce came up short and sailed on the premise of a false promise.

Similarly, many leaders embark blindly upon missions to find fame, fortune and power, only to run aground while chasing the illusion that control and manipulation can create enduring success. While the allegory of the Fountain of Youth is somewhat entertaining, the scourge of dominating leadership can be as cold and harsh as our northern winters.

The unpleasant realities of a one-dimensional manager replaying “old school” techniques and calling it influence is a farce, yet quite abundant across our work spaces. Wizened and skilled in the art of self-preservation and promotion, leaders who model these less than secure tendencies fall short in establishing the type of work cultures that keep and attract quality.

The byproducts of this dominating leadership style are many and include sluggish performance, poor team motivation and above average turnover in talent. Conversely, secure and successful leaders maintain a personal growth curve by helping others mature and develop as secure leaders. How do these leaders go about apprenticing others with the heightening demands of time and performance? The answer is both straightforward and significant. These influencers lead from a position of power that centers on others while integrating the following mindsets and action into the fiber of their work lives.

Patterns of a Liberator

  1. Plan – The creation and scaling of an apprenticeship plan is a crucial step in the development process of liberation. A structured plan becomes a growth roadmap that serves as a complement to spontaneous, casual support offered each day. An apprenticeship plan should contain a description of the process and clearly detail the results desired.
  2. Partnership – The apprenticeship process is a relational partnership whereby the leader gives opportunity for learning through observation, experimentation, co-leadership and implementation. The general model of Apprenticeship follows the gradual release principles of:
    • I do, you watch
    • I do, you help
    • You do, I help
    • You do, I watch
  3. Constancy – Development of team talent is never a one-time event. Rather, informal and formal apprenticeship is an activity in which powerful leaders engage every day.
  4. Personalize – While each person possesses a unique learning and leadership style, a good apprentice is often a skilled imitator. To be most effective, it may be necessary to adjust your personal leadership voice and style to best mimic the style of those being apprenticed.
  5. Ownership – It is the leader’s responsibility to drive formal development activities. While team members certainly have a huge stake, the learning process should be driven and monitored by the leader, especially at the onset of the apprenticeship process.
  6. Time – It is an unkind reality, but even the best of leaders are governed by the clock and have limits to the investments of time available to their team members. The challenge for every leader is how to best leverage the priority of time and for whom: the high potential person or the underperformer? Without debate, one’s time invested in the leader’s highest value team members will yield maximum team success. Spending an unfair share of the leader’s time coaching underperformers is unproductive to the people who are producing and will ultimately stunt your team’s collective results.

Take Home: The prescription for building leaders worth following lies in the intentional apprenticeship of others.

Bonus Take Home: Like iron sharpening iron, the leader who liberates through the model of apprenticeship actually becomes increasingly defined in their own skills, influence, and security the more they invest in others.

Seeds of apprenticeship planted in healthy culture ultimately produce opportunity and empowerment for those being served. Want to learn more about the GiANT Worldwide secret sauce of apprenticeship? Visit our website to learn about our Executive Core program: executivecore.info.


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