One of the most underrated best practices you can pursue if you are attempting to develop leadership is to remember to Build the Bench. Tomorrow, the 2015 World Series begins, which features two teams that have made this a priority. The Mets and Royals are mindful of this; recognizing at any moment, at every position, someone needs to be ready to move from the role of backup to starter. Whether through slumps, releases, or injury, a “next-man-up” mentality is vital for an organizations success. Leadership should be no different.
I experienced this just the other day when I was speaking with a prominent D-1 college head baseball coach, as he shared with me about how he meets with handful of team leaders on a regular basis. If an organization intends to grow, a key focus of the leadership team must be to Build the Bench. Strong leaders do not have a scarcity mindset, fearing for their jobs if they help their direct reports grow. Actually, the opposite is true. Anytime you find leaders who can replace themselves, they are the last people you want to leave.
Like successful coaches and scouts, high performance organizational leaders not only recruit great talent, they also enhance it. By identifying a clear picture of what they are trying to develop, they are able to create a clear path and close skill gaps that block the way.
Organizations who focus on building the bench are also locked in on finding emerging leaders. They keep a close eye on looking to fill a spot with a talented backup. These teams have development plans for those on the rise, and they systematically challenge everyone in the organization to grow to the next level – not just a select few.
If you truly want to create a leadership culture on your team or in your organization, don’t forget to build your bench. Just ask the Mets and Royals. Because at some point you will need it, especially if you expect to achieve championship results.
What are doing to develop your leadership bench?