Several years ago, I was searching for an associate director for a department I led. My supervisor gave me this rather blunt but useful advice: “We want someone who can step right in and take your place in the event you are run over by a truck.” A sobering thought, but one that impressed on me the importance of not only having a replacement in the wings but a deep bench of potential leaders.
In Leaders Made Here, Mark Miller provides a story about creating an organizational culture that values leadership and seeks to make it second nature. The book carries over some of the ideas like servant leadership that Miller has presented in previous books, but charts new territory in suggesting ways to develop leaders.
Miller identifies five commitments of a leadership culture:
- Define it;
- Teach it;
- Practice it;
- Measure it:
- Model it.
This is certainly not a magic formula but one that can bear significant rewards for an organization over time. We must move beyond the myth that the right person--the “hero leader” --will miraculously appear at just the right time to deliver us from a crisis. We can prepare for the inevitable challenges that face our organizations by nurturing leaders.
There are many great ideas here, but one that is especially important for someone employing millennials is that potential for personal growth and development as a leader can be a primary factor in attracting motivated younger employees.
This is a great resource not only for human resource professionals but for leadership teams as well. I would encourage churches, denominations, and faith-based institutions to study Miller’s model for building leadership cultures in their settings as well.