Don’t let competency keep you from growing

As I consult and coach with many people and organizations, one thing seems to always come up when talking about leaders and leadership.  It goes something like this.  “So and so is a hard worker and a great leader, always gets a lot done, works a lot of hours and is very competent” 

Now I am not saying that great leaders are not hard workers, but just because you are competent at something does not mean you can lead others to be effective, and just because you find someone who is very effective at a certain task does not mean they should be the point person for that task.  Leadership is influence, nothing more, nothing less as my friend John Maxwell says, so if you or the person you are wanting to lead does a great job but is not able to influence others to do what they are effective at, what you have is a very valuable doer, but not a leader.  A leader would recruit, train, release many to do the task, see the challenges and opportunities and navigate from a different perspective.  And then they would be on to the next thing, looking for competent people to help achieve the next goal.

Being competent does not make you a leader, but part of being a leader is being competent.  Next time you are tempted to put someone in charge of a department or project, don’t just look at their effectiveness, look to see if anyone is following them and do they have influence.  Put a leader over that department, and watch  it grow!