How to Develop the Discipline of Developing Others


[vimeo id="169766829"] Your primary goal as a leader is people. No matter how great of a speaker, writer, or visionary you are, you must become disciplined about developing others.

Unless your goal is personal change, you’re going to need more than yourself along your journey. That’s why you will constantly need to refine your skills in areas such as recruiting, placing, training, and maximizing people. If you want to achieve a breakthrough, it will be because you have the right people in the right positions doing the right things consistently.


I love watching sports. There are no limits for teams who are structured, trained, and positioned to work together as one unit. That doesn’t happen by chance. It happens because the coach intended it to be like that from the beginning.

One of my favorite leadership gurus is Mark Sanborn. He wrote [a blog post recently]( about leadership effectiveness. Almost all of the behaviors and characteristics he identified can be traced back to mentoring and developing others. I couldn’t agree more.

Let me give you a few tips I’ve learned along the way about how you can develop the discipline of developing others:

1. Put time on your calendar to do it. Good intentions will never get you very far. If you want to create a breakthrough, you will need to invest in the people in your organization. Coaching is just as important in your organization as it is in athletics.

2. Only hire people you want to invest in. It’s going to be hard to develop people who don’t fit your culture. Whatever time you can carve out to develop others will still be limited. That means the people on your team need to be people you want to invest in because you recognize their potential.

3. Make it your priority. You can’t do everything, but you can appropriately prioritize how you spend your days. When a conflict of time and schedule arise, you will choose the one most in alignment with your priorities.

4. Get to know the other person. Think about the people you lead. How well do you know them? Are they married or dating? What kind of ice cream do they like? What do they do to relax? These questions may seem silly and irrelevant. But you need to know “the person” behind the professional you lead.

5. Think about how you recruit as much as your strategic plan. It doesn’t matter how brilliant the idea or how perfect the timing, if you don’t have the right people, you won’t achieve the same impact as if you did.

6. Help those who don’t fit or excel find their next opportunity. Firing people is only bad if you haven’t done your job to develop them. If you have, then it shouldn’t be a surprise. In fact, it could even be a healthy thing.

7. Give people grace when they need it. We are all human. Even me. I don’t get it right every time. No one does. When you know someone’s heart and intentions, help them recover when they fumble. We’ve all been there.


We often misuse the word genius. When I use that word, I mean the ability for people to work together to create something far greater than they could on their own. It’s the person who offers a different perspective and brings new possibilities into focus. It’s the question asked that leads to the desired outcome. It’s the personal risk taken that leads to an even greater reward.

Everything you want to accomplish is possible if you have the right people on your team, are surrounded by people who support you, and are willing to invest the time, money, and energy required to develop the discipline of developing others.

As a boss, you can tell people what to do. As a leader, you should develop people who want to follow you.

REFLECT: How important are people to accomplishing your vision? Do your schedule and approach reflect that? What, if anything, should change?