How do You Activate Leaders using Leadership Multiplication?

Leadership Multiplication is an ongoing process. It equips leaders with the necessary knowledge, skills, and mindset to effectively create more leaders.

Part of this process is activating potential leaders by teaching, observing, and eventually handing off authority. Ensuring the future success of the organization by creating visionary leaders capable of sustaining growth and innovation.

Key Takeaways

  • Identify and Invite: Identify potential leaders and equip them with the necessary skills and mindset for effective leadership.
  • Apprenticeship Mindset: Implement an apprenticeship mindset where new leaders learn by observing and learning from experienced leaders.
  • Hands-On Mentorship: Transition potential leaders from learning to leading by collaborating on tasks and sharing responsibilities, promoting practical experience.
  • Manage Expectations and Growth: Recognize and adjust your expectations, not every leader learns at the same pace.
  • Leave an Impact Through Activation:  Activate new leaders and cultivate a culture of growth and opportunity. Reduce turnover and prepare the organization for future challenges.

The Path of Activation: From Learning to Leading

Leadership development is not just about preparing individuals with the necessary skills. It is also about instilling the right attitude and mindset to lead effectively.

So where do you start? To activate a leader you must first identify and invite them into the leadership multiplication journey.

One thing I still see colleagues do is promote people into leadership positions they are just not ready for. The path of activation is here to change that. 

When you build other leaders and help them go from learning to leading, you also show others the potential for growth and recognition. By fostering internal leadership development and growth, you can ensure a sustainable future filled with driven and capable leaders.

The Apprenticeship Mindset

As a lawyer, I have always hired interns or law clerks. Funnily enough, even when I broke out of the law practice and started other businesses, I kept hiring law clerks. They were highly accomplished, driven, and hard workers. Some of my most successful leaders have come through the pathway of internship and that is because of the apprenticeship mindset.

This is the “watch and learn” phase of this process, they’re learning how to lead from you. Trust me, they’re going to watch your every step. That means the good and not-so-good habits and practices you might have. Being a mentor carries a heavy burden because you’re inviting someone into the journey to watch, learn, and lead.

In a study led by John Maxwell, he asked over 1000 executives to list the top five traits they looked for in a leader. Each one of the executives listed the five traits, and 100% of them listed this one trait in all of their answers. Out of all those answers, 78% of them listed this as the number one trait that a leader has to have: integrity.

If you’re a leader who truly wants to build leaders, then you have to go through the process yourself. And by putting everything we’ve discussed up until now into practice. Once you’ve spotted and invited potential leaders into their leadership development journey, then it’s time to activate them.

The Leap: Collaborating and Activating New Leaders

True development involves transitioning from learning to doing. There is no better way to teach a new leader than being a mentor for them. That means collaborating on daily tasks. Let them shoulder some of the responsibilities, while still working alongside you, an experienced leader.

This is a critical phase of activation, it takes time, treasure, and talent. I often see fellow business owners who step away too quickly and end up hurting a young leader’s process. They need validation from you, their mentor, their leader.

In my companies, we follow multiple principles, but what that essentially looks like is giving them room to grow by using the 70% rule. So do they have enough authority to make some decisions? Do they have room to think critically and take some risks?

Well, this is what you do when you activate a young leader. You give them some room, and you allow them to make some decisions, but they’re making them with you, they’re not making them alone. 

I’ve seen no better place to put cultural DNA to the test than to get your leaders active and making decisions with you. I highly recommend they make them with you along the way. That way there is a co-responsibility in decision-making. Let them know they’re not alone and that you will give them the resources needed to succeed.

Navigating the Pitfalls of Activation

The pathway to activation will help you build other leaders, but like with everything in life, there can be some pitfalls. The good thing is, I’m here to share them with you and help you navigate them.

Risk of Unmatched Expectations

Not every leader rises to the occasion in the way you expected. You’ve taken some risk in identifying a leader. You’ve invited them in, you’ve activated them, where they’ve been eating, sleeping, and drinking the DNA of the company. 

But there is a risk that maybe you’ve picked somebody to come along this journey, that’s not as invested as you are in them. Think of yourself on a hill with a rope. There are two types of young leaders. There’s the one that wants it, and the one that doesn’t.

The one that doesn’t want it, you find yourself dragging them up the hill with the rope, and you want it more than they want it. However, the one that wants it, needs that rope.  

You need to recognize when the investment might be better placed elsewhere. I would say this is the time to invest those resources into somebody who does.

Understanding a Leader's Growth Phase

You need to help them lead from where they are and not where you want them to be. Remember, everyone learns a different way and at a different pace. 

I went through this too. I was disappointed in my young leaders not knowing some intuition of the decisions I was making. And it was unfair because early on, I remember one of my chief marketing officers, I just churned right through her because I wanted. I was disappointed that she wasn’t acting at a level that I would act in the role.

In her exit interview, she said, “Vinnie, I love this culture. I love all the things you’re doing with this organization. I just can’t do it at the phase you can do it now. You’re putting demands on me and not giving me room to grow.”

Wow, that was tough to hear, but I’m thankful for it. What she said woke me up. I started adjusting expectations and leading a leader from where they are and not where I want them to be.

So have the hard conversations, and adjust your expectations. Make sure you’re aligning to their leadership journey. It’s okay to go back and start again, you’re going through your process as well. Being a mentor isn’t easy but it’s one of the most gratifying experiences.

The Impact of Leadership Activation

When you activate new leaders you ensure that your organization is ready for whatever problems tomorrow might bring. You’ll see an increase in loyalty and a decrease in turnover. 

The more the people in an organization witness promotion and opportunity for growth, the more they’re likely to stay.

The most important thing a multipler can do is get young leaders in positions and activate them to make decisions. They have to learn how to think critically and work through their decisions, the good and bad.

That’s how I developed certain intuitions in leadership. Through actively doing leadership, learning, and developing wisdom from the decisions that sometimes work out and many times don’t. And you course correct as a result of those. 

If you want to be a great leader and build something that will grow beyond your shadow, you need to invest in leaders. It is the whole mission of why we’ve built this organization. We want multipliers, and we want you to embrace being a multiplier.


What is leadership development?

Leadership development is a process of identifying, nurturing, and activating the leadership potential within individuals to ensure they can effectively lead teams and organizations.

Why is leadership multiplication important?

Leadership multiplication helps repeatedly build capable leaders who can tackle future organizational challenges, drive growth, and inspire their teams.

How does leadership development impact organizational culture?

It promotes a culture of growth and opportunity, boosting morale and retention by showing clear paths to advancement.

Can leadership development reduce turnover?

Yes, leadership development can significantly reduce turnover by increasing employee engagement and job satisfaction through growth opportunities.

Is leadership development only for new leaders?

No, leadership development is a continuous process that benefits leaders at all levels by refining skills, expanding perspectives, and enhancing decision-making abilities. Developing your leadership skills is not just about personal gain. It’s about elevating your entire team and organization to achieve greater heights. Leadership development is essential for anyone looking to create a lasting impact — beyond your shadow.

About Beyond Your Shadow

At Beyond Your Shadow, we recognize that a leader’s shadow casts a profound impact on the organization. We are committed to helping leaders. We help them identify strengths and areas for improvement in their leadership approach. This ensures a multiplication effect that echoes throughout their teams and their company.