4 Tips on Building Leaders by Coach K

4 Tips on Building Leaders by Coach K

Coach K knows what it takes to develop great leaders as one of the all-time great men's basketball coaches. Continue reading for Coach K's leadership development advice.


Why Build Leaders?

Great leaders recognize the importance of leadership development and actively seek opportunities to mentor junior members of their teams.

Identifying potential leaders among your direct reports and teaching them leadership skills through a hands-on training or development program is what developing leaders entails. Leadership development is a win-win situation for both managers and team members: the manager ensures that their direct reports aspire to greater responsibility, while the team member benefits from a supportive company culture. Bottom line: Effective leaders give businesses a competitive advantage, higher retention rates, increased employee engagement, and long-term sustainability.


How to Identify Leaders

Here are some methods for identifying high-potential individuals who are well-suited for leadership positions:

1. Establish a leadership pipeline. Every business development strategy should include a formal process for elevating team members to positions of leadership. Leadership pipelines encourage employees to do their best and can help managers identify employees who would excel in such a program.

2. Assess interpersonal skills. Good leaders have qualities such as integrity, self-awareness, and cooperation. Even if team members do not have formal training, they may have good leadership qualities and are likely to make good candidates for becoming successful business leaders.

3. Put soft skills first. Soft skills, such as effective communication and emotional intelligence, can assist you in becoming a successful leader. Look for team members with effective public speaking skills, the ability to handle conflict effectively, and the ability to multitask.

4. Provide opportunities for leadership. Allow members of the team to take on low-risk leadership roles, such as during a meeting or team-building exercise. These opportunities will allow you to assess their leadership abilities.


4 Tips from Coach K on Building Leaders

Here are tips and ideas on how to develop leaders from Coach K:

1. Constantly assess leadership potential. To identify emerging leaders in your organization, Coach K suggests looking for "people who embody the values of your organization and lead by example." According to Coach K, the best leaders will work to ensure that the entire team can align and move forward as a unit. "Everyone has leadership potential," he says, "but it must be nurtured, and the leader must be willing to invest the time and effort necessary to develop their skills."

2. Empower instead of delegating. Your development opportunities should instill leadership skills in your employees, giving them more autonomy. Employees should only seek approval from senior management on rare occasions if a business leader does their job well. "Everyone in your organization should have a certain level of autonomy," Coach K says.

3. Recognize good leadership behaviors. Senior leaders must recognize effective leadership by praising and encouraging team members when they see it. "Good leadership isn't enough," Coach K says. "You have to recognize it if you want it to happen again and again."

4. Take a tiered approach. An effective leader, according to Coach K, empowers others to take on leadership roles. "Leadership is a plural concept," he says. "If your organization were a ten-story building, the leader would be on the tenth floor; the leader should have confidence that what happens on the first floor is being addressed."