Who Are You Really Leading? | Raising Adults & Next Generation Leaders

If you are a parent, who are you really raising? If you are a leader at work, who are you really leading? When you look at these two questions the right way, it changes everything.

Parent leading a child

Leaders, whether at home or work, remember that YOU are leading the next generation of leaders. (Tweet That) | Share this Graphic on Pinterest | Share on Facebook

For the parents

Parents, you are not raising children, you are raising adults. (Tweet that)

When I look at our two-and-a-half year old daughter, Aracelli, it’s hard for me to look past her adorable eyes and see a grown woman someday soon. It’s hard for me realize that while she struggles now with pronouncing the letter “L” correctly (she makes a “W” sound), she may one day speak in front of thousands of people. It’s hard for me to see past her innocence and her purity.

But I remind myself every day that she will have raging hormones like every other teenager. She will feel peer pressure. She will be tempted. She will be exposed to things that make me cringe. She will make mistakes. In other words, she will grow up.

And I remind myself that it is my job to raise her accordingly. I am raising an adult, not a child.

When I realized that, it changed everything for me.

For workplace leaders

At work, you are not just leading producers, you are leading the next generation of leaders.

Your job as a leader goes way beyond getting the most out of your team. It goes beyond hitting the numbers or achieving excellence. It goes far beyond any of those worthy goals.

Your job is to raise up the next generation of leaders. As a leader, all eyes are on you. Your every move is being watched and your team members are learning from you. Whether you like it or not, you are influencing their future leadership behavior in one way or another.

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There is no greater legacy to leave as a leader than to watch others become leaders themselves. In sports, they call this the “coaching tree.” One of the most universally accepted ways to assess a head coach’s legacy is the number of head coaches he or she produced. How many former assistant coaches or players are now head coaches themselves? Often, when you look at a legend’s coaching tree, they might have hundreds of branches and branches of branches.

The great coaches go beyond wins and losses. They go beyond just pushing their assistants and players to achieve today. They raise up a generation of future leaders. They leave a long-lasting legacy.

The selfish reason to raise up leaders

If you are looking for an immediate (and, frankly, selfish) reason to raise up leaders around you, remember that when you raise up leaders around you, it makes your job easier. When you are the only leader in your department, you never get a vacation. When you are the only leader, there is no one to whom you can delegate your role. But when you have leaders around you, you have someone to hand the ball to.

In this way, it’s OK to be selfish. You need other leaders around you. And the next generation needs them.

Question: How are you raising up leaders around you? If you are a parent, how are you raising adults? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

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  • Geoff Franklin

    I am raising up leaders around me by spending time with each person on my team as you suggest (one-on-one) and spending the last 10 minutes or more focusing on building their leadership skills. I also make sure to delegate at least one project to them in the meeting.

  • Isaac Dorrel

    Good post and thanks for sharing Matt. It reminds me of a book I recently read, “The Mentor Leader” by Tony Dungy.

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