Leaders develop their people — it’s important to help them grow, to make yourself more effective by delegating, and to see who could advance to leadership themselves.
A first step to determine readiness is to simply ask for more.
This could be either faster delivery, more complete work, or greater pro-activity.
For the “D” person, whose priorities are Results, Action, and Challenge:
“It’s no secret that you’re interested in getting ahead here – that you consider yourself worthy of promotion. An easy way to keep getting noticed is to deliver early, and never wait for a reminder from me. Sets you apart, and benefits the team.”
For the “i” person, whose priorities are Enthusiasm, Action, and Collaboration:
“Dude – you’re doing great! So often, I look at you as very reliable. To really help your reputation and keep that going, here’s an idea for you – with every project, every task, big or small – deliver early, especially if someone else’s deadline depends on it. If Sue expects something Thursday, get it to her Tuesday, for example. She loves that. Or – if you’re caught up, stop by my office to say ‘do you need anything from me to make your life easier?’ I might just have something for you. You’re on the right track, and you’ve got potential for more here – consider being early on delivery, and seek to do a bit extra. Cool?”
For the “S” person, whose priorities are Support, Stability, and Collaboration:
“Hey – let’s talk about something good here. This team has a lot of moving parts, and I know you care about our work. Something we’d love to see from you is this; a bit more urgency and pro-activity. If you step up a bit, it’s really going to make a difference across the team. For example, Sue waits for deliverables from a few of you; when you get your stuff to Sue a day or two early, she is better able to keep a handle on things. And, there are items on my plate that you might be ready for. It would make my work smoother, and it would be nice to see you grow. Want to talk details about this sometime?”
For the “C” person, whose priorities are Accuracy, Stability, and Challenge:
“Your work is high-quality, and that makes me think you’ve got potential for more. Consider holding yourself to a higher standard. For example, deliver early; 2 days on long projects, or half a day for routine tasks. Furthermore, consider organizing your calendar to add 10-15% work that’s not been on your plate before; I’d like to challenge you to take on some higher-level project elements. Would you like to talk details?”
It can be that easy. Recognize the person for the good work they are doing, then ask them to deliver on just a bit more. Decide whether that will be earlier deadlines, more complete work, greater pro-activity, or assuming some higher level tasks from your list. If they agree to your proposal, and continue to excel, they’ll be one step closer to leadership, plus you’ll have reliable people to delegate to when needed.
Part of leadership is pushing others to grow – get at it.