You’re a Leader – Now Grow Up

Measuring Heights

While people get into leadership and leadership roles for many different reasons, one thing that most leaders go through is the realization that their thoughts and actions need to be matured over time.  Some leaders are lucky – they realize this before anyone knows how immature they really are on the inside.  However, the vast majority of leaders unfortunately do not realize just how immature they and their actions and ideas are until it is too late.

In some cases, the immature leader does not even know he or she is immature.  They do not think (or sometimes do not have the time to think) about their words and actions and analyze them to a point of realization.

This is especially true when a previously technical superstar, sales producer extrordinaire, or production master wizard becomes a team leader.

Meaning – some of the same skills that make a person technically excellent (the ability to develop great ideas, the ability to think of an answer before anyone else, etc.) can be a huge detriment to a leader.

hile sometimes a leader is required to come up with new and innovative ideas, more often than not, the way a leader can best serve his or her team is by enabling the team members to come up with ideas of their own.  Sometimes this is done by allowing the teams to come up with their own ideas.  Other times, the leader can ‘seed’ the team with the beginnings of a new idea and then let the team run with it.

When a team creates an idea, the leader will have the opportunity to either be a self-serving and immature leader or a mature, serving leader.

As Nic Oliver wrote ( Business : Tip of the day – Developing Leadership Maturity)

Mature leaders (and people generally) demonstrate humility when presented with a great idea. They are appreciative, supportive and encouraging. They have let go of the need to be the ‘expert’, the source of all knowledge.

The immature do one of several things:
1. Dismiss it only to re-present it later as ‘their’ idea.
2. Feel threatened that they had not thought of it.
3. Say something like: ‘So what, everyone knows that!’

This quote really gets to the heart of the matter and illustrates wonderfully the mentality of an immature leader.  Most immature leaders who read the above will say – “I don’t do those things. Especially when it comes to creating new ideas, everything I come up with is always 100% my own.”

What some immature leaders do is to purposely not fully listen to other people and even go so far as to “forget” that someone suggested an idea just so you can suggest the same idea later on.  Contrast this with a mature leader who makes sure his or her listening skills are developed and make mental (or physical) notes when he or she hears a good idea.  Then, when the idea can fill a need, goes back to the person who came up with the idea, has them implement it and give them all of the credit.

Next time your manager comes to you and asks for something from your team, give some thought into how you will get your team to create the solution.

If you feel you need to be part of figuring out the solution, figure out how you can ‘seed’ the team with some ideas.  Then, let them water and nurture the ideas until they are beautiful flowers.  Then, make sure you give the team all of the credit.

Chris Sprague is a Visionary Servant Leader
He strives to bring out the best in everyone
Email | LinkedIn

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One response to “You’re a Leader – Now Grow Up

  1. Great post. The idea that we have to be mature as leaders really hits home amidst all the craziness in Washington today.


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