Look For Leaders
He was playing with other kids in the neighborhood. He didn’t just play though: he orchestrated, conducted, commandeered, and gave instructions. Amazingly, the other kids followed.
His mother, Sara, had been watching this all day. She’d watch and listen to the laughter and antics, but also noticed how her son led the group. Upon arriving home, she said, “Franklin, why do you tell the other children what to do?”
He replied, “They wouldn’t know what to do if I didn’t.”
The kid was Franklin Delano Roosevelt, future President of the United States. Young F.D.R. wasn’t just bossing the other children around. He had a vision as to how playtime should be, what games should be played, who should be on what teams and how long each activity should take. And so, he led…and the other children followed.
Watch your team. Look for those who have the same qualities as young Roosevelt.
Who on your team sees the future?
Which one can see how a project should come together?
Your future leaders are those individuals who come to you with ideas on how a team should operate and what goals should be pursued.
A key factor in Roosevelt’s story is that young FDR spoke up. He wasn’t afraid to have his voice heard. Who is allowing their voice to be heard in your organization? That’s important to know because that person isn’t afraid to risk rejection. They believe in their vision enough that they’re willing to give voice to it.
Is there anyone on your team who takes initiative without having to be prodded along? If you answered yes, invest in that person or persons; they are the future of the organization.
Like all of us, young F.D.R. would need coaching and training. The same is true for the future leaders on your team. You, as a leader, must be involved in their lives. Feed them books. Walk them through the wisdom of other great leaders through leadership-based reading exercises.
As they make decisions–succeed and fail–be by their side.
Shout the wins.
Show them other perspectives.
Without a leader, the team won’t know what to do. Also, they won’t know why they’re doing it. Be like FDR and you’ll ensure your team knows.
Brian Sanders serves as Executive Vice President of Positive Alternative Radio. He regularly writes and speaks on leadership topics. His new book, “Leadership Endurance,” can be purchased HERE.