John Maxwell once conducted an informal poll at one of his leadership conferences. He wanted to find out what prompted the men and women who attend to become leaders. This is the result he got:
HOW THEY BECAME LEADERS
Natural Gifting 10 percent
Result of Crisis 5 percent
Influence of Another Leader 85 percent
It’s true that a few people step into leadership because their organisation experiences a crisis, and they are compelled to do something about it. Another small group is comprised of people with great natural gifting and instincts that they are able to navigate their way into leadership on their own. But more than four out of five of all the leaders that you will ever meet will have emerged as leaders because of the impact made on them by established leaders who mentored them.
That happens because of the Law of Reproduction: It takes a leader to raise a leader.
The only way you will be able to develop other leader is to be become a better leader yourself. If you’ve already taken those first steps, you are to be commended. You’re in a position to begin raising other leaders. As you get started, keep in mind that leaders who develop leaders…
- SEE THE BIG PICTURE
Every effective leadership mentor makes the development of leaders one of his highest priorities in life. He knows that the potentials of the organization depend on the growth of its leadership. The more leaders there are, the greater its chance of success.
- ATTRACT POTENTIAL LEADERS
If you first develop your leadership qualities, you will be capable of attracting people with leadership potential. When you do that and also earn their respect, you will get the opportunity to develop them into better leaders.
- CREATE AN EAGLE ENVIRONMENT
An environment where leadership is valued and tough becomes an asset to a leadership mentor. It not only attracts “eagles”, but it also helps them learn to fly. An eagle environment is one where the leaders casts a vision, offers incentives, encourages creativity, allows risks, and provides accountability. Do that long enough, and you will develop a leadership culture where eagles begin to flock.
Occasionally, a company will emerge where the leadership is so strong and the development process is so deliberate that the impact not only drives that organization to the highest level, but it also overflows into other businesses. That is the case of General Electric, led by former chairman Jack Welch. GE has become one of the best-run companies in the world, and it keeps developing leaders upon leader.
In this chapter, Maxwell outlines a long list of CEO’s who once worked with GE. According to him, the company has “lost” more leaders capable of running organizations than most other good companies are able to produce in their lifetime. But how was general Electric able to produce so many outstanding leaders? The answer can be traced to a common source.
First, leadership development is one of the company’s highest priorities. It spends more than $500 million a year on training and develops leaders at its own institute in Crotonville, often called “the Harvard of corporate America”. But even more important than that is the fact that the company was run by a great leader, Jack Welch.
It all starts at the top because it takes a leader to raise another leader. Followers can’t do it. Neither can institutional programs.
It takes one to know one, show one, and grow one. That’s the Law of Reproduction.