Why the Future of Leadership is Built on WHO not How

The biggest mistake leaders make?…not trusting their own people to deliver. Tomorrow’s greatest leaders are the ones who will figure out the WHO and trust them to deliver on the HOW.

The pandemic has given us a glimpse into the future, and the greatest leaders are focused on developing their leadership teams into the leaders required by the future (which is here already!).

Why micromanaging isn’t great leadership

Micromanage your people and you are really an individual contributor with just more arms and legs.  By telling your people what to do (the HOW), you prevent them from thinking and growing.  The world is advancing at a faster pace, so if your people are not growing, you will be the one that’s doing more and more.  Leadership is WHO, not HOW, and the greatest leaders view their role as finding the right WHO’s, motivating them, and getting them to collaborate in more powerful ways.  You could look at it this way…you pay your people to do the HOW…and if you don’t have a WHO, the who is always you!

How do we identify the WHO

You know the old saying, hire for attitude and train for skills.  You need people with the right attitude and the ability to work with others.  However, the most important thing you need in your WHO is the ability to make decisions.  Invest in hiring and growing the business judgment of your people, and you will be able to let go of more decisions.  Remember this:  A company’s value is often within the ability of the people in all levels of the organization to make decisions on their own.  Decisions drive pace, add value, and create the future faster.

Trusting the WHO to identify the HOW

If you have hired and grown the right WHO, then your role as a leader is to get out of their way and to help remove any obstacles that could be in your people’s way.  There’s a great leadership focus that enables this and it’s called NIFO Leadership (Nose In, Fingers Out).  With your WHO owning the HOW, your role is to have your nose in (reinforcing the direction and pace) and your fingers out (avoiding to give your people the easy answers).  With your nose in (and asking the right questions), you can see how far you can trust your people to deliver.

Where to start?

Now, here’s an interesting way to start.  Ask yourself:  1.  Where do I need to put my nose in to ensure my people are delivering the achievement and at the pace I want?

It’s all about setting clear expectations (on direction and pace) up front, and then enabling your WHO deliver the HOW.  If you need help setting these expectations, give me a call.