How to Build Future Credit Leaders

NACM National

Jamilex Gotay, Editorial Associate

It’s clear that no two leaders are alike, but what makes someone a leader? Or more specifically, how do you build a leader? According to Harvard Business Review, a leader “successfully marshals [their] human collaborators to achieve particular ends.” Whether the goal is as simple as meeting a monthly quota or as complex as changing company policies, leadership makes a difference.

Step 1: Push them out of their comfort zone
One of the first steps to building a leader is to push them out of their comfort zone and act. “We make more leaders by inviting others into action, voice and community leadership—and then supporting them as they step into it,” reads an article from SmartBrief. Whether that’s having them work on a new project or meet new people, make sure they’re doing something different so they may grow as a leader.

Step 2: Give them leadership development opportunities
Instead of pushing them from their comfort zone, give them things that will strengthen their leadership skills. “Challenging assignments or job rotation develop new abilities, deepen the understanding of the organization and improve confidence,” reads an article by bdc.

These opportunities can take place in or outside the workplace, like internships, volunteering, social groups, sports, cross-cultural experiences, student government and organizations, and passion projects, per Rasmussen University. Through these opportunities, the individual is developing leadership, team-building and problem-solving skills—all qualities necessary to be a successful leader.

Step 3: Be a mentor
Another way you can help someone lead is to be a mentor they can rely on. According to a study by Kellogg Professor Brian Uzzi, 37,000 scientist mentors and mentees confirmed that having a mentor who is at “the top of their game improves a mentee’s odds of ultimately becoming a superstar themselves by nearly sixfold,” per Kellogg Insight.

A mentor can guide not only by developing their mentees talents, but letting them create their own path. “When a student gets this ‘special sauce’ and they apply it to being a mini-me of their mentor, they still do well. But if they apply it to an original new topic of their own, they do even better,” said Uzzi in an article by Kellogg Insight.

Even a natural-born leader will encounter times of uncertainty that will push them in different directions. As a leader, it’s up to you to help them recognize and reach their greatest potential. If they have strong inter-personal skills, guide them on how to network and build relationships. If your mentee has strong public-speaking skills, hand them the mic. If they have innovative ideas, encourage them to make it reality. The sky’s the limit.