4 keys to increasing your leadership capacity

As this year wraps up and planning for next year starts, Personal Development should be at the top of the list. In his book “No Limits, Blow the Cap off your Capacity,” John Maxwell discusses how our capacity is not set. It’s expandable. He notes that each capacity is based on our talents and choices. Following are the top seven capacities that rely more on talent than choices, though both are involved:

1. Energy Capacity – Our Ability to Push On Physically
2. Emotional Capacity – Our Ability to Manage Our Emotions
3. Thinking Capacity – Our Ability to Think Effectively
4. People Capacity – Our Ability to Build Relationships
5. Creative Capacity – Our Ability to See Options and Find Answers
6. Production Capacity – Our Ability to Accomplish Results
7. Leadership Capacity – Our Ability to Lift and Lead Others

The focus of this article is on leadership capacity. I recently heard a speech by a local leader who said that great leaders develop great leaders not great followers. I absolutely believe this is true. Liz Wiseman, former Oracle executive and current president of the Wiseman Group in Silicon Valley authored several books, including “Multipliers: How the Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter.” Multipliers are “leaders who are genius makers who bring out the intelligence in others.” Following are the five Disciplines of Multipliers:

1. The Talent Magnet attracts talented people and uses them at their highest point of contribution.
2. The Liberator creates an intense environment that requires people’s best thinking and work.
3. The Challenger defines an opportunity and causes people to stretch.
4. The Debate Maker drives sound decisions through rigorous debate.
5. The Investor gives other people ownership of the results and invests in their success.

The Multiplier can also unwittingly diminish other people by being The Idea Guy, Always On, The Rescuer, The Pacesetter, The Rapid Responder and The Optimist.

The First Key to increasing your Leadership Capacity is to: “Ask Questions and Listen to Understand and Find Your People.” Communication is the language of leadership. Journalist and author William H. Whyte said, “The great enemy of communication, we find, is the illusion of it.” Questions open doors and allow us to connect with others. They place value on the other person. They also give us a different perspective. Before we attempt to set things right as leaders, we need to see things right.

The Second Key to increasing Leadership Capacity is to: “Connect with People Before Asking Them to Change.” As a leader, you are inviting people to change their focus, change their energy, change their skills, and sometimes even their direction in life for the sake of the team and the accomplishment of the vision. How do you get people to trust you for so many changes? The foundation of trust needs to be built on good relationships, and good relationships start with good connection. One of the keys to helping team members make success changes is to set expectations for them up front. It increases the odds of positive change later in the relationship. As Stephen M. R. Covey says in The Speed of Trust, “It is important to focus on a shared vision of success up front. This is a preventative measure. When expectations are not clearly defined up front, trust and speed both go down. A lot of time is wasted due to leaders not clearly defining expectations. Failure to clarify expectations leaves people guessing. When results are delivered they fall short and are not valued.”

The Third key to increasing Leadership Capacity is to: “Demonstrate Transparency Before Challenging People.” According to John Maxwell, “One of the most valuable things you can do to increase your leadership capacity is to be authentic and transparent with people, and to share your story, especially before you challenge them to attempt something difficult. As a leader, seeing the vision is not enough. You must also feel that vision. If you only see it, you may become distracted and lose sight of it. However, if you feel it, the vision cannot be easily dismissed. If you are transparent about what you feel about the vision, followers will be inspired to embrace it.

The Fourth key to increasing Leadership Capacity is to: “Put Others Ahead of Yourself.” You need to shift your leadership from me to we. These three factors will make you want to change:

1. Reality – As the Challenge Escalates, the Need for Teamwork Elevates. Every worthwhile dream is greater than the individual who initially holds it. When we recognize that truth, it motivates us to ask others to help.
2. Maturity – With One Tiny Exception, the works is Composed of Others. Maturity is unselfishness. It’s being able to see things from another person’s perspective because you value them. It means building ladders so that others can climb, not fighting to climb the ladder yourself.
3. Profitability – Measure Your Success by What You Give, Not What You gain. You should judge your success by how much you are able to help others. In the end, life is about people.

You can increase your leadership capacity by being aware and intentional about increasing it, and making it a higher priority. You could begin by asking yourself a few questions: How well do you do at connecting with people and challenging them? Are you better at one than the other? How can you improve the one you don’t do so well? What changes should you make and what specific action could you take to put others ahead of yourself, especially in your leadership?

Some of my clients have used Predictive Index with successful results. The Predictive Index Behavioral Assessment objectifies workplace behaviors so you can predict the drives and motivations of others, be a better manager, and communicate more effectively. It is a highly effective, yet simple, scientifically-validated assessment that measures four core behavioral drives. If you have questions or if you would like to learn more about Predictive Index, please email me at DanYoung@b2bcfo.com.

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