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5 Questions to Ask Natural Leaders
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All leaders may not be managers - but managers can help natural leaders develop their skills.

To understand the difference between management and leadership, Mark Hamade, COO of a group of manufacturing companies, suggests thinking about the construction of a new road. Managers see that workers are trained, motivated, understand what to do and have tools and machinery that work properly. Leaders see that the road is going in the right direction, and continue to do so despite changing conditions.

To identify the natural leaders in your company - whatever their job level may be - Hamade recommends looking for those employees walking down the right road. They're the ones who aren't just following you, but are seeing the road themselves and helping others make their way along it.

Encouraging Leaders

You can help these natural leaders grow. Mike Rother, in his recent book Toyota Kata, explains that coaching is the key. He recommends accompanying managers on their daily plant walk-arounds. Make sure they are asking questions, encouraging others to think independently and giving feedback and guidance to their teams. Then, give frequent, first-hand and immediate feedback about what they are doing and how they are doing it - both about what they do well and what needs work.

These five key questions should come up repeatedly, first from you to your leaders, and then from your leaders to their teams:

  1. What is your target condition here?
  2. What is the actual condition now?
  3. What obstacles are now preventing you from reaching the target condition, and which one are you addressing now?
  4. What is your next step?
  5. When can we see what we've learned from taking that step?

Building the road to your company's future takes collaboration among leaders, managers and workers. Coaching helps everyone become more adept at managing the process or leading the way.


The article you read was prepared for general information purposes by McMurry. These articles are for general information purposes only and are not intended to provide legal, tax, accounting or financial advice. PNC urges its customers to do independent research and to consult with financial and legal professionals before making any financial decisions.These articles may provide reference to Internet sites as a convenience to our readers. While PNC endeavors to provide resources that are reputable and safe, we cannot be held responsible for the information, products, or services obtained on such sites and will not be liable for any damages arising from your access to such sites. The content, accuracy, opinions expressed, and links provided by these resources are not investigated, verified, monitored or endorsed by PNC.