Leaders Support Growth and Development through Role Modeling

One of the most important components of leadership is being a role model. You can’t be a great leader if you don’t practice what you preach. Leaders have to be willing to learn and grow themselves.

Being a leader role model goes beyond just being willing to take a few courses and read a few books. Supporting the growth and development of employees means learning alongside your them, encouraging some risk-taking, and tolerating mistakes without judgment.

People are certainly worried about failure and rejection that come with making mistakes. They are incredibly frightened about doing it in front of their boss. This isn’t just a fear of being fired; it is the fear of failing in front of a parent figure. That’s hard.

So when you as the leader ask for help, or allow yourself to be informed/corrected, you convey that there is acceptance for others and their learning. You foster a willingness to look for answers outside the box instead of something tried and true. Your organization will set the world on fire only if staff takes new and novel approaches to problem solving.

Fostering growth also means you have a recognition that people need time and energy to grow. Not only do employees need time to participate in training, but they time to stay in control of their personal lives by maintaining a decent work/life balance. When people are forced to sacrifice their personal lives for work, they will do only the minimum needed, not the maximum a high performance organization demands.

Leaders protect their employees from pressures to work at the expense of a balanced life. It is not just about work policies, but about a culture which supports and encourages healthy living. Leaders who live balanced lives, ones that include ongoing growth and development, will gain a strong following among their employees. Being a great role model leader pays off for everyone in the organization, including you.

Tom DeMaio, PhD


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