Leaders have a great number of traits to consider and practice to make them successful. Moreover, what one leader finds successful in his or her organization and environment might not necessarily work in another. However, as anyone who has read my EBook knows, I do think there are certain tools for leaders that are universally accepted as good tools to use. Two of those universal tools are the topic of this blog, the Dynamic Duo of “Ds” for Leaders – Developing Deputies and Dedication to Duty.
Developing Deputies is an essential trait for successful leadership in any organization. In my EBook, Top 10 Leadership Lessons: Commonsense Leadership Tools for the Shift Supervisor and Chief Executive Alike, I devoted an entire chapter, or lesson, to this concept. I wrote: “To be a great leader, you must empower key deputies (Develop deputies). You need to empower these deputies for three very important reasons. First, you need to grow the leaders that will succeed you and be the leaders of tomorrow. Second, as much as you might think you can, you can’t do it all yourself- not effectively or efficiently, anyway. Finally, you need to empower key deputies to have trusted advisers.” Successful leaders know that they must develop the leaders that will carry the organization into the future. They understand that no matter the size of the organization – unless you are running a business as a solo entrepreneur – it takes a team effort to be successful. Additionally, they understand that they must have key deputies that they can rely on to tell them the truth about the health of the organization. They must Develop Deputies that will tell them not only what they want to hear, but more importantly, what they NEED to hear, whether they WANT to hear it or not.
The other member of the Dynamic Duo of “Ds” for Leaders is Dedication to Duty. Dictionary.com defines duty as “an action or task required by a person’s position or occupation” and “something that one is expected or required to do by moral or legal obligation.” Personally, I like to define Dedication to Duty as a combination of the dictionary definition. In other words, Dedication to Duty for a leader is devotion to an action or task required by the leader’s position that he or she feels a moral obligation to achieve. Furthermore, leaders have the additional role of not only devoting themselves to their morally obliged tasks, but also inspiring those they lead to have that same level of devotion to their tasks and responsibilities. It’s easy to say, but hard to do in many cases. How do leaders get their subordinates / employees / team / etc. to embrace Dedication to Duty? I think it boils down to answering the question “why?”
Regardless of the tasks people perform or the positions and job titles people hold, most people understand what they do, when it needs to be done, where the tasks take place, and even how the tasks are to be accomplished. Dedication to Duty involves understanding the “why.” If an individual understands why their position is important to the team; if they understand how their roles fit into the big picture at higher levels of the organization and even higher echelons; if they comprehend why the functions they have are important to achieving the organization’s goals, then the individuals understand the importance of their contribution to the organization and its purpose. Understanding the “why” is what gives people true Dedication to Duty, and turns a job for a paycheck into a career or a profession for a purpose.
The Dynamic Duo of Developing Deputies and Dedication to Duty will raise the success of any leader and any organization. Holy Developmental Discussion, Batman!