The Keys to Helping New Leaders Find Their Niche
By Alan Olsen
The process to become a good leader is exactly that. A process. It doesn’t usually happen overnight. Good leaders have to learn and develop their skills and abilities and then hone them as they practice them. That takes time and experience. Sometimes there are bumps in the road along the way. Those bumps, or mistakes, don’t mean success is unattainable. As leaders grow they learn how to lead and how to cultivate their voice. The key is allowing them the opportunities, and the necessary time, to realize that voice.
Always Assume There Is More Than Meets the Eye
Because leaders aren’t made in a day you have to be patient. Good leaders don’t find their voice or their niche overnight. It’s a process of trial and error. However, when you’re developing a leader always assume that there is more to come. In other words, there is more than you can presently see. New leaders have greatness but they might not know how to find it at first, or how to grow it. That’s why experienced leaders need to continue to push, encourage and instill confidence in those they are teaching to be leaders. Even when you think a new leader has reached his or her full potential, the truth is, there is always more than you can see.
Stay Positive and Don’t Ever Give Up, No Matter What
There will be times of frustration and sometimes there might be more downs than ups, but never give up. A leader in training needs you to stay positive. You have to be there when he or she wants to give up, or takes a big step backwards. If you give up on that person, you not only risk missing out on his or her untapped potential, but also it could hurt your reputation as a leader. Think back to your early days when you were learning to lead. It wasn’t all a bed of roses. Those memories can act as a catalyst as you help a new leader develop and mature. Don’t put too much pressure on your protégé and never give up on him or her. If you saw something great in them in the first place, chances are there is more to come.
Expect the Unexpected
Another important factor in helping new leaders find their voice is to remain flexible. In other words, be prepared to be surprised. Be careful not to get caught up in yourself and your own experience. This is about them, not you. It can be tricky but you need to avoid inadvertently trying to create another you. Your voice should not necessarily be their voice. More often than not, if you give your protégé enough leeway to learn and grow he or she will develop his or her own voice. And it will be the right voice. Don’t impose your own definitions of success, either, because success can come in many forms. Instead, allow them to define their own measures of success. They will most likely end up surprising you and themselves.