Many parts of the country are still covered in snow, yet late February to early March is the time when we start seeing signs of Spring (and spring fever). This is the time of year when in between the last lingering winter storms, there are a few beautiful, sunny days that hint at what’s in store when Spring hits in full force. Emerging leadership is like this – sometimes hiding in the midst of day-to-day activities, yet at times breaking out to show the sunny possibilities, before becoming obscure again.
So how is a manager or mentor to help an emerging leader in this early Spring stage? First, recognize those glimmers and glimpses of leadership when they occur, second support and reward the budding leadership behaviors, and third never criticize or diminish attempts at leadership – even if they are under developed or faltering.
Be watchful for emerging leadership traits from your employees or protégés. Catch them being innovative, trying something new, weighing alternatives before making a decision, collaborating with others, taking responsible risks. When these glimmers and glimpses of leadership happen make sure to notice, give praise, provide support, and coach the emerging leader to keep up the good work. And never introduce negativity, criticize or tell the employee to stop thinking, trying, and acting. If an emerging leadership trait disappears (as with one of those last lingering winter storms in March) coach, guide, and develop the employee so they know it is okay to learn from the situation and do better next time.