Every company has a manager but only some businesses have truly great leaders. Here are three top tips to help you on your way to becoming one.
Most businesses have managers, but only some businesses truly have leaders.
We see time and time again, cases where successful ‘technicians’ (someone highly skilled at a role or role type) are promoted into a management role and they fail as leaders.
Whether you’ve just landed your first leadership role or you are just planning ahead, taking the first step into leadership can be daunting.
Thankfully there’s plenty you can actively do to make sure that your success isn’t just left to chance.
1. Recognise the need for new skills
This role needs a step change in your approach. The ‘technical’ ability and expertise you have developed in your field will only get you so far.
Your frame of reference will need to shift and you will need to develop and draw upon a different skill set to be successful now. It’s likely that if you’ve reached or are considering a leadership role, then you have already developed some of the skills and attitudes needed to shine at this level, but see it as an ongoing task.
One of the key success factors will be your level of investment in your own development. Carve out diary time to learn. Read books from those leaders you see as role models.
Also, identify the behaviours you admire and skills you aspire to and establish how to develop these. Create a plan and stick to it as rigorously as you would any other improvement plan within your business.
Many new leaders will use a coach or mentor to help them with their early development so don’t be afraid to ask for help!
2. Don’t tell, TEACH!
With only one of you to go round, delegation is a must. It’s inevitable that your team will come to you for guidance; it’s a significant aspect of your role, after all! When they do, how you handle it is important. Don’t fall into the trap of sentences that include: “If I was you I would..” or “What you need to do here…”.
This approach won’t help you or your team in the long run because each time they are presented with a challenge, they’ll come straight to you for instruction.
Instead, use questions to get the team member thinking about their options. Refer them to the sources you used to develop your own knowledge and let them explore their choices in the safety of their discussion with you.
Over time you will see them become more comfortable with making the difficult decisions that are part and parcel of the operation and they will respect you for giving them the space to develop.
3. Be part of the team
A surefire way for a new leader to alienate the people around them is too much use of ‘you’ and ‘I’. If you’re a leader then you are part of the team so always reflect that in how you refer to the operation.
‘We’ and ‘our’ are the order of the day here; make it clear that you win together and lose together and you won’t absolve responsibility when the team miss ‘their’ objectives.
Integrating properly into a team is about more than just language though. It’s about developing relationships.
This doesn’t mean you have to be everyone’s best friend but it does mean that you have to get to know those people who are working to deliver the business success you are responsible for. Find out what drives and motivates them and use that knowledge to align them with the organisation’s ambitions.
At Leading Results we offer a range of courses and coaching designed to help you throughout your leadership journey; from those early days right through to advanced development. If you’d like us to help you, just email me: firstname.lastname@example.org.