Leaders should be guiding others to be better today than they were yesterday. This ensures a team of people who are fully equipped to accomplish the mission. The secret to this isn’t terribly complicated but it isn’t necessarily a natural practice for many. More common is for leaders to command while followers listen and try to comply. However, this is not consistently successful and causes a lot of angst, mistakes, “do overs,” and misunderstandings.
It would do well for many leaders to take a lesson from craftsmen. Go by any construction site and you will see apprentices who work alongside the master craftsman learning the trade and practicing it until they, in turn, master the craft and are able to pass it along to others themselves. This model looks something like this:
- I do it – and you watch.
- You do it – and I watch.
- You do it.
Anyone familiar with the Hersey/Blanchard Situational Leadership model will recognize this. The leader begins by acting as a teacher who shows and tells a learner who is motivated but lacks the knowledge of the task at hand. Once the learner has a basic understanding, they then try the task. If they fail, which they most likely will, the leader then asks questions and coaches them until they reach a reasonable level of success. From there, the learner can go it alone while the leader provides ongoing support.
This model of guiding, asking and supporting (GAS) is a simple way to engage people to be empowered to do more, think more and move toward leadership themselves. This is the goal, a team of leaders who can think for themselves and move in unity to accomplish the mission.
Try it. Lead well.