John Maxwell said “ Leaders become great not because of their power, but because of their ability to empower others”
Have you ever seen concrete poured?
Do you know what a mucker is?
One summer morning when I was 16 years old, my dad came into my room and woke me up at the dark and quiet hour of 5am. I was to be his mucked for the day. I really didn’t want to be up that early, but in order to have money to hang out with friends, I had to earn it. Thus the need to sacrifice the luxury of sleeping in.
My dad was a cement finisher and on this particular day we would be pouring concrete for a new parking garage for a hospital. As I said before, I was to be the mucker. The mucker does the grunt work. As the cement comes out of the shoot, a mucker shovels the concrete and spreads it throughout mold to fill in the holes and make the cement even.
My father, as the finisher, was the leader. He made sure everyone was where they were supposed be and guided them in their jobs. His job was to come in behind me and smooth out the cement and make it level.
My father seized the opportunity to teach me a lesson that continues to impact my life. He taught me that in life there are proverbial muckers and finishers. Even though that day I was a mucker, his job as a finisher was to teach me how to become a finisher. My dad understood his role as a leader was to empower me to become a leader as well.
Over the last 20+ years I have pondered on this lesson and how it applies to my chosen field. I have established a reputation as a leader in the sales industry. As a business consultant and now as a speaker, I have trained hundreds of leaders. What I have found is that there are many that have the potential to be great leaders, but there are many leaders who struggle to teach their people to reach their potential.
More than 77% of organizations report that leadership is lacking, and while that is a big number it should not come as a surprise given that 10,000 Baby Boomers retire every single day. At the same time, 83% of businesses say it’s important to develop leaders at all levels. Yet less than 5% of companies have implemented leadership development across all levels. According to recent survey results, there is a succession planning crisis to be concerned about in many companies. There is an apparent ineffectiveness in the preparation of people for leadership positions. Half of the respondents said their companies lacked sufficient leadership talent, and 47% predicted there would be a shortage of leadership or executive-level skills in the future.
Vince Lombardi said “ Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work.”
So how do you make and develop leaders?
1. Get to know your people. What is their story?
2. Seek those that have the courage to lead by example.
3. Inspire your people to become leaders not just followers.