Developing Leaders: How to Identify and Grow Your Next Generation

A strong leader is one who understands the importance of developing leaders within his or her organization. Area Marketing Director Zak Fang explains why it’s important and how to do it.

Being a strong leader is one of the most important roles you can play in the success of your business. Another is developing leaders within your organization who can help free you up to focus on the big picture.

The challenge, however, is that you’re often wearing too many hats at one time. You’re selling, recruiting, mentoring, training and trying to maintain a healthy work/life balance at the same time. We can agree that it’s hard work. If you’re managing it alone, or with the help of a few people, it can be overwhelming.

Your Next Generation Is Key

Developing Leaders How to Identify and Grow Your Next Generation Business Success Leadership Business Strategy First Financial SecurityOne of the responsibilities of being a productive and forward-thinking leader includes developing your next generation of leaders. It’s a critical need that many teams recognize but often have difficulty executing.

Three years ago, when I joined First Financial Security, Inc. (FFS), I was immediately introduced to the Business Building System. I followed it step-by-step. Leveraging the connections I had within my circle of influence, I began hosting weekly business opportunity meetings. It didn’t take long for us to reach 100 … 200 … and now 500+ agents in our organization.

It was easy to see that, from a recruiting perspective, we were experiencing great success. I also recognized that as those numbers grew, the number of leaders in our organization would have to grow, too.

It was relatively easy to identify those who had great potential. They were good listeners who were coachable and willing to become students of the business. They were fast risers who had a quiet confidence about them. I could see them as good followers at first and with the right coaching, they had the potential to become mature, responsible leaders later.

The Starting Line

People have asked me if we have a particular strategy in our organization for developing our leaders. Many of our agents join us at different places in their lives. I firmly believe that you have to meet them where they are.

When new associates sign up, we ask them about their goals, what they want to accomplish, and in what time frame. Pace is important to establish. Some agents join full time, some part time and some even less than part time. We’re very intentional about getting to know them, observing them as they learn, and assessing and developing their confidence.

Letting them participate, even in the smallest capacity, helps build them up. Gradually, they’re ready to take on larger roles. They might be the emcee for a Super Saturday or do a two-minute talk in front of a crowd. This helps them build the skills they need to become better leaders.

Eventually, we give them responsibility for part of the Business Opportunity Presentation because they’ve proven their ability. It’s critical, though, not to push them through the system too rapidly. We’ve found by allowing them to move at their own pace, within reason, we help create long-lasting confidence that delivers effective leadership throughout our organization.

Everyone Has Their Niche

Is everyone on our team the same type of leader? Absolutely not. We have a wide variety of leadership skills and that’s the beauty of having a team of leaders. Some have the gift of public speaking or building great relationships. Some have fabulous technical skills and others can organize events like a pro.

We’re able to leverage each other’s strengths so we can accomplish more business together. This is something we truly embrace as a team. It’s critical to our success and deeply rooted in our culture.

Much Needed Rest and Relaxation

If I put that success in terms of cash flow, it’s allowed me – and our leaders – to establish self-sustaining businesses. Generally, if you own your own business, the busier you are, the less time you have to enjoy your success.

With capable leaders in place, I’m able to enjoy an income stream even when I’m not in the office. I can take a family vacation and not worry about missing a paycheck or coming back to a week’s worth of work to catch up on.

Far-sighted Leaders Wanted

Some leaders are reluctant to promote leaders within their organization because they’re nervous about the short-term effects on their income stream. Yes, your spread is lower, but the responsibilities that your new leaders assume frees you up to recruit and develop new associates and leaders. You have the time to build even more width within your organization.

Don’t be shortsighted in your business decisions. Invite your down line to contribute to the team’s success. It’s not fair – or helpful to you – to simply have them stand on the sidelines.

Our team looks forward to promoting leaders. In fact, it’s a big deal, complete with celebration. They’ve worked hard and we want to recognize that effort. It’s motivating to other associates and allows our team to visualize our growth. It’s critical to see it and present it in terms of the big picture.

Be a Great Follower First

As an organization, we’ve experienced much success and I am grateful for the opportunity. I will say, however, that there’s no secret. We follow the system and teach what we’ve been taught. The process creates great teams and even better leaders. Don’t be afraid to trust it.