Today I want to talk to you about how to get people out of their comfort zone and into leadership roles. If you’ve followed 90SL for a while, you know that I prefer a four-step gradual release model when it comes to leadership development. I think that these four steps overlap really well with helping people walk through their level of comfort and taking on a new role. Let’s take a look.
The first step is helping them understand where they are in the comfort zone. Here they feel safe and they likely don’t want to take on additional responsibility even if they have the potential to do so because they feel like they are in control. But to move them forward in development, we want to start small and intentional. We want to ask them to walk alongside us, observe, and ask questions before we dive in.
When we ask them to dive in, they get fearful and they are in the fear zone. This is exactly what it sounds like. They fear this new responsibility, they lack confidence, and they find excuses why this isn’t going to work. That’s where you guide their development. You provide them sound training, but you ask them to help you and come alongside you before asking them to take on the full weight of that responsibility on their own.
Then we want to move them into the learning zone. Here your efforts are collaborative. They may have received training, but now this person is learning skills from you and how to overcome challenges, all the while growing in confidence. You are, in turn, gradually now transferring that responsibility on them.
Now, we get to the growth zone. The growth zone is special. This person has now been equipped to take on the leadership responsibilities, and because you have helped stretch them through these different zones, now they are ready to grow as a leader.
Now that you understand how to move people through these four comfort zones of leadership development, what are you going to do about it?