“Me? A leader? No way. Not interested.” If you’ve ever entered into this kind of conversation with someone you believe has leadership potential, you’re not alone. According Harvard Business Review, many employees resist enrollment in formal leadership development programs. One of the key take-aways from the research cited is that employees view “leadership” in a way that sounds like a headache. (Fair enough. It is a tough gig.) Yet the truth is, at one time or another, we are all called on to lead. And if you are tasked as a developer of leaders, you owe it to those you lead to seize their everyday work situations to as a means to grow as a leader. It may also require a bit of loaning your belief in them.
Doubt is a fairly common reaction when you say, “I think you have what it takes to become a leader.” This resistance may show up in a variety of ways. For example:
- You see leadership ability but she says she’s “not ready”
- You know he has the technical knowledge needed to shepherd the team through a computer conversion, but he’s uncertain about the interpersonal aspects
When people are asked to step into a new role, it’s normal for them to experience reservations.
This is the time when you, as the leader, need to shore up their belief.
If you are confident that someone on your team is ready to lead, tell him or her.
Sometimes, people just need encouragement to step up to leadership. Your belief is a gift to them – you can envision a future when they are leading. Their vision of themselves as leaders just hasn’t caught up to yours yet.
Loan them your belief in them until they feel solid enough to believe it on their own.