To achieve organizational success in the short run, delegate. To achieve organizational success over the long run, lead vicariously. Build your web of mentors.

One of our strongest human desires is to live long beyond our years.

We want to leave a legacy behind, an immutable imprint on the world, a lasting impact that can speak for us when we cannot.

When all is said and done, we simply want to ensure that our life meant something.

The same can be said for any organization or team. As a leader, you not only have the universal need to build your own legacy, but the unique responsibility of protecting and ensuring the legacy of the organization you are leading.

Just as you must delegate leadership duties on a daily basis to ensure daily success, you must also delegate long-term responsibilities to ensure long-term success. You must go beyond standard delegation. You must build a web of mentors.

If you cultivate a team of yes-men—devoid of people who think critically, question boldly, and act decisively, your leadership will never live on beyond you. But by developing your team with the mindset that they are already leaders, and by expecting each individual to mentor those who come after them, your leadership will continue far beyond your reach.

Good leaders know that it’s not about them. Good leaders know that leadership is about those they lead.

If those they lead do not thrive, then the team as a whole doesn’t thrive. Needless to say, that is a critical sign of bad leadership. This applies just as much to you as it does to your web of mentors. If you have someone who is reluctant to mentor others, who may feel threatened, insecure, or who think they may be replaced, this is a sure signal that they may not be a good fit for your long-term plans. Building a web of mentors is a great way to filter out ego.

It’s argued that a spider web is, at the very least, an extension of the spider’s sensory apparatus. Similarly, the internet is, at the very least, an extension of the human’s sensory apparatus. Humans and spiders use these extensions to shape the world around them more than they could without such webs.

Approach leadership in the same way. You cannot be an impactful leader without a web around you. You must build extensions of your mentorship and authority.

From this point on, do not look at your team as mere subordinates. See your team as your web of mentors who you are empowering to build a cohesive organization that will live beyond you, and eventually, a web of their own.

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