There are many variations on the theme of this saying (I also like: when you climb the wall, throw the rope back) that speak to using our own success and good fortune to help others. 

You’ve worked hard to get where you are and now it’s time to elevate (pun intended!) your own goals by helping others because great leaders create leaders. 

From an organizational perspective it’s vital that you support your leaders in growing more leaders. The 2020 Global Leadership Forecast reported a worrying and continued drop in ‘bench strength’ – leaders in waiting who are ready to step up. Only 11% of HR leaders surveyed said they have a strong bench to fill leadership roles. Developing leadership potential needs to start earlier, embrace diversity (ditch those notions of what a leader ‘looks like’) and align to both purpose and profitability. 

Jack Welch, former CEO and chairman of GE, decreed that those who did not coach others would not be promoted. Welch knew that when his leaders grew others, they grew themselves and the organization.

A true sign of your own leadership progress is moving from being an individual contributor to a ‘coach’ who ensures every person on the team can fulfill their potential. Ways you can do this include:

  • Encouraging them to ‘stretch’ – potential needs to be challenged. Understand their thresholds and support them in their decision making and risk-taking
  • Letting them in your elevator – make introductions and connections
  • Being inclusive – understand the differences and uniqueness of each person on your team 
  • Removing obstacles – from red tape to unfair and inflexible practices
  • Articulating a strong vision – that your future leaders can orient themselves around. Success takes focus! 
  • Role modelling great leadership – always
  • Being self-reflective – in this new role of leader-as-coach you are learning about yourself too. 

My coaching practice was founded on my genuine passion for helping others to grow and succeed. In fact, one of the first things you’ll see when you land on my website is: 

"As Iron Sharpens Iron So One Man Sharpens Another." prov. 27:17

It goes to the core of who I am and what I believe. 

I’d love to know – who sent the elevator down for you? And what can you do to lift someone else up?