I am an entrepreneur. I had an idea for a start-up, I stayed focused and determined, and I persistently fed life into that idea. It became Gorlin Pools and Spas. I turned my desire into a thriving and growing organization, and 3 years later I was having a hard time finding even one employee who was a leader. My company was 3 years old, and I found myself leading alone.

I had 25 employees producing all the work, but not one helping to lead. In this business, most workers are followers rather than influencers or leaders. That’s largely because most leaders do not develop other leaders — they only develop followers. And it’s keeping our businesses from reaching their potential.

Leaders can’t do it alone. To succeed at the highest levels, they must surround themselves with a team of other influencers and leaders. Although we may see the big picture at the top, we still need other leaders at our sides to convert our visions into reality. We might reach success, but we probably won’t take the company to the next level if we only have followers going around, following us.

This is becoming more apparent today, as aging company owners try to find successors to take over their businesses. Some of the most successful transitions occur when a seasoned employee can take over, but that won’t happen without a leadership plan in place.

The two most important questions that I ask myself and all leaders should ask themselves are: 1. Am I developing my potential as a leader? 2. Am I helping other leaders develop their potential? In my experience, maybe half of all leaders develop their own potential. But what astounds me is that only about 5% of leaders I know truly develop other leaders.

We have to start with ourselves. You probably think you’ve mastered the art of leadership. I know I did, until I served as chairman of the Association of Pool and Spa Professionals in 2012-13. If you think it is easy, try being a volunteer leader. I thought leadership was all about me — the leader. But in a volunteer organization, there’s no requirement to follow the leader. I was stuck and getting nowhere fast. In my own company, the No. 1 barrier to growth was a lack of leaders. Something had to change — me.

First, I decided to get out of my comfort zone. I challenged my limiting beliefs (“I’m too old. I can’t do this. I’m not good enough.”). I faced my conflicting desires (“I want to go to the next level, but I want to stay in my comfort zone.”) I enrolled in the John C. Maxwell International Leadership program and became certified as a leadership coach, trainer and speaker. I was scared, nervous, and out of my element.

One of the most important lessons I learned, especially as APSP chairman, was that leadership is about serving others first. It’s all about them. I cast my vision, and maybe it drew people to me, but once people were on board, it was all about collectively bringing our goal to life. I had to subjugate my needs and wants for those of the people around me. That was a hard lesson to learn. But people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. If you can’t show people that you care about their journey, their wants, needs, hopes and desires, they’re not going to care about yours.

Next, I wanted to help my employees become leaders. I started by creating a “daily morning leadership huddle.” This simple meeting has been the most important part of my effort to develop leaders in my company.

We meet at 6:30 each morning, standing around the time clock for no more than 20 minutes. As the facilitator, I steer the process, encourage every team member to contribute, encourage discussion and model effective leadership to my team. The huddle is a great method for encouraging personal development and getting to know my people in a setting we would not normally experience together.

The entire first week began by creating an environment built with values, goals and expectations before diving into leadership content. We talked about our culture, why we do what we do, and how to serve our clients to improve their lives. So there’s purpose; there’s meaning.

As I wrapped up Week One, it was extremely important to emphasize that the huddle is not a session for complaining, but to objectively and constructively talk about various subjects. True leadership confronts issues and does not foster the growth of division and strife, so at times I needed to gently redirect the team to keep conversations from spiraling downward. By directing the discussion to be constructive and positive, it will help teammates focus on changing their immediate spheres of influence. A lot of times, these talks are inspired by what happened the day before within the company. For instance, we might deconstruct a mistake — without naming names — so we can learn from it.

Our casual daily talks slowly morphed into deeper and more meaningful conversations. Individuals began identifying themselves as potential leaders, driving the discussions, asking me questions throughout the day, and mentoring teammates. With my leadership radar antenna up, I began to nurture, equip and develop growth and potential in the team. It took a small investment of everyone’s time, but the ends certainly justify the means. My “dream team” of leaders was created. Today, we are producing generations of leaders who train leaders to train other leaders, and together my employees and the organization continue to grow.

While developing the leaders around me, one stood out. We have a plan of succession and transition in place, which is enabling me to realize another deep burning desire of mine — to coach, train and speak, making a difference for other people who want to make a difference. My new company, Gorlin & Associates, provides life coaching, leadership coaching, training, assessments and speaking.