What Emerging Leaders Need From You

As we focus on being effective leaders we mostly approach leadership development from our own perspective. Coming from the angle of personal development, we ask how we can be better leaders today than we were yesterday. We defer to subject matter experts, consult coaches, and learn from other executives at leadership retreats and events. However, we don’t look often enough from the perspective of those who allow us to be leaders in the first place– the young professionals and emerging leaders we mentor. It’s about them, and the adage reminds:

How are we doing as leaders? We need to look more often from the perspective of those who allow us to be leaders in the first place– the young professionals and emerging leaders we mentor. #levelupyourleadership #leadership #contractleaders Click To Tweet

The measure of a true leader is not in how many followers they have, but in how many good leaders they create.

Eric Schremp is a 25-year young professional, who is arguably, wiser than his years. He is also the Assistant Vice President of Commercial Banking at First Business Bank. Eric started with First Business Bank in 2013 as a credit analyst, and moved into his VP role under the mentorship of Jim Hartlieb, President of First Business Bank and Tom Dott, Vice President.

Eric credits Jim and Tom for creating a mutually-meaningful work environment where Eric can grow as a professional in his role and as a person who can take his lessons home to his fiancee and his friends.

For an inside look at what our emerging leaders need– but likely don’t tell us, on their leadership development journey, Bruce Holoubek, owner of Contracted Leadership, and Host of The Development Exponent Podcast explores Eric’s experience in working with his senior leaders, and mentors, Jim Hartlieb and Tom Dott.

The Halo Effect

Emerging leaders are often younger people who have to work with senior professionals and clients. Your emerging leader is keenly aware that they are likely the youngest one in the room. They are aware that others see them as “the kid,” and it feeds into their discomfort. Your physical presence next to them in the room as their senior leader and mentor can ease that tension. When other team members and clients see you side by side, they feel more secure in the ability of your person– this is known as “The Halo Effect.”

Introduce your emerging leader to community committees so they can see how other organizations are running meetings. #emergingleader #leadershipdevelopment #levelupyourleadership #contractleaders  Click To Tweet

Sparing a bit of time to sit in that meeting, or visibly checking in with your emerging leader in front of the group will boost their standing with those in the room. Your presence adds credibility. Offer it to your emerging leader when you sense it can help a situation.

Assume Positively

Be mindful to interpret positively where you can… Traits like curiosity are valuable in business for strategic thinking and creative solutions. We often think of curious people as the ones asking all the questions in meetings, and forget that they can also be the ones sitting back quietly and observing. Emerging leaders, especially ones who are new to your team, may still feel like they have more to learn before they can freely contribute, so they take more time to observe. A person may seem disengaged or like they have nothing to add, but they may really be afraid.

Emerging leaders may still feel like they have more to learn before they can freely contribute in a meeting. They observe to learn more. #emergingleader #leadershipdevelopment #levelupyourleadership #contractleaders  Click To Tweet

Open the Door, Literally

One of the biggest wishlist items for emerging leaders is to be able to have exposure to the decision makers in the company. Being able to sit in the room and hear the questions that decision makers and seasoned professionals are asking is enlightening. It builds confidence to know what types of interactions they can expect in their next stages of professional interaction, as well as helps them sharpen their presentation skills by learning how the decision makers think.

Learning moment? Challenge constructively by offering what you would have done differently. #emergingleader #leadershipdevelopment #levelupyourleadership #contractleaders Click To Tweet

There is no college course that lets you see how senior leaders conduct themselves in meetings, yet it is an essential lesson.

It’s a lesson they can also learn outside of your company. Introduce your emerging leaders to community committees so they can experience how other organizations are running meetings. Let them see how other leaders answer tough questions on the spot.

What community committees have you introduced your emerging leaders into so they can see how other organizations are running meetings and doing things? #emergingleader #leadershipdevelopment #levelupyourleadership #contractleaders  Click To Tweet

Other Tips

  • Show them how their role fits into the big picture.
  • Be an example of humility and honesty. Show them that you don’t have to have all the answers, but that you’re willing to look for them and learn.
  • Take a genuine interest in their professional and personal lives. 
  • Challenge constructively to create teaching moments: offer your take on what you would have done differently.
  • If you value the person for whom they are show it to them without bringing work into it. For example, if they are out sick, call and ask how they are feeling– but don’t follow up with asking when they will be back.
  • It’s tough to come in as a new person and add value, so note small areas where they contributed to your results and thank them for it.
Creating mutually-meaningful work engagement means more than just being professionally aligned. It crosses into other areas. What role are you taking in developing your emerging leader’s personal life? Comment below. #levelupyourleadership… Click To Tweet

In Conclusion

If you prioritize curiosity as a trait that you expect to see in your emerging leaders, they will be more open with you about the kinds of things they need from you as their leader and mentor. Showing them that you are on your own growth journey by admitting when you don’t know something and being humble will further fertilize the soil of growth for your team. As we get comfortable in our roles it’s easy to forget that our emerging leaders may not yet be comfortable. They are stretching in their abilities and learning from what they observe. Give them patience and time to become the superstars you want them to be.

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