One of the most important responsibilities of a leader is to create the right environment and then give their team members development opportunities that inspire them to be their personal best. Your best future leaders always come from the pool of people who never settle for less than their best, regardless of their position or assigned task.

First thing great leaders provide is, “seed opportunities.” People grow through challenging opportunities that stretch and test. They provide information for their team—not solutions. You start them on the discovery process, create a direction and a starting point. You give them a compass, not a map.

Second, great leaders provide a “compelling vision.” A compelling vision of the future always creates a healthy tension, not distress. You keep raising the bar but help them clear the bar by creating small wins along the way. Allow people to fail without fear. Create a desire to explore but not be reckless. Make sure you are asking the right questions and the hard questions—not just the easy questions.

Asking the hard questions creates a vacuum that they must fill with solutions. This creates a healthy tension that maintains the proper balance. Tough questions train your team to think before they respond. Don’t look for the final solution the first go around. Look for incremental progress.

Third, help them believe the “impossible is possible.” Show them historical examples of impossible becoming possible. Examples, the first automobile, the light bulb, and the 1969 moon shot. Show the beginning of the journey and the final destination. Let them discover all the “impossible” challenges on their own and how to solve them as they take the journey.

Collective will and energy connected to a compelling vision and a clear strategy creates unstoppable synergy. Momentum shifts when the team embraces the challenge and a spirit of faith for winning prevails.

The greatest resource an organization has is the collective genius of all its team members, coupled with its collective will to complete the mission. Only then does wisdom prevail in decision-making and resources are maximized.

Great leaders don’t focus on what they know but how to access the knowledge and best efforts of those around them.