Are you Missing the Point in Leadership?
Time and time again I hear people saying since they became a manager or leader they are overwhelmed, stressed, too busy, have too many people issues, and so on!
We know this can be for many reasons. Some middle leaders feel sandwiched between the tension of Executive decision-making and the feedback and needs of their team members – a mismatch between organisation strategy and the front-line if you like. Others were technically or professionally competent and then got promoted to a management role with no real preparation, some are so task or project focused that they just don’t get the relational side of management. These are just a few of the reasons we struggle as leaders.
So are you sitting at your desk today feeling:
- Do you feel stressed?
- Have you lost sight of why you joined the organisation?
- Do you feel out of your depth – perhaps those around you seem to grasp the things that you don’t?
- Do you feel over-looked and unrecognised
- Torn between your team and the organisation decisions?
- Are you wrapped up in conflict?
- Has the organisation or your role outgrown you and you’re trapped because you’ve lost confidence to get a new role?
- There’s just not enough hours in the day and goal posts are constantly moving?
The great news is it’s never too late! We all have strengths. We just sometimes lose sight of them when we are struggling at work. Here are my Top 10 Leadership Tips to take you from Missing the Point of leadership to becoming an On Point Leader!
1.Plan to become a leader. If you feel you have what it takes – you have vision, people connect, listen and engage with you. You feel you inspire confidence, performance and you get the bigger picture, go for it but plan. If you think about the important decisions we make in life, buying a house, getting married, buying a car, starting a business – all these ventures we won’t embark on without at least some planning. Treat your career like a business strategy. Develop a career plan. If you’re already a leader and you’re reading this because you identify with the above, it’s not too late. Do a career plan now and add in why your current one isn’t working.
2.Learn! Your career plan should include how you are going to achieve your goal. Surround yourself with inspirational leaders, volunteer to help on projects and absorb the experience. Showcase what you can do as well as learning from the best. It’s important to surround yourself with people who are better than you, those who will let you make mistakes and support your learning.
3.Get a Mentor. We all need someone to bounce off, to discuss issues in a safe environment where we can learn. I say mentoring as opposed to coaching because a mentor will give guidance, advice and support to help you achieve success. A qualified mentor from outside of your organisation will give perspective to the issues you are facing and help you to identify a personal development programme.
4.Know yourself. Undertake a self awareness or personal development programme that opens you up to your strengths, weaknesses, values, environments you thrive in and those you struggle within. Consider your learning style, how you give and receive information and the impact you have on others. Get yourself to a point that you know yourself so well you’re able to show vulnerability. You’re comfortable with the fact that no one is perfect and you are a masterpiece in progress. Strength in self awareness can not be underestimated. Through understanding ourselves we know how to complement our strengths and weaknesses with those around us, we are honest enough with ourselves to be confident in seeking support, and we know how to adapt our interactions to engage and influence others.
5.Have courage. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Volunteer for secondments, take development opportunities, or move around to maximise your experience and knowledge. Good leaders are confident, ambitious and able to take risks. Have the courage of your convictions. If you’ve made a bad career move that doesn’t meet with your career plan or the organisation culture doesn’t meet with your values, move on. Don’t get trapped by the organisation, most people make at least one poor job choice in their career – we’re human, and sometimes the organisation promises don’t match up when we get there.
Likewise if you’ve worked for an organisation for a long period of time and it’s changed beyond recognition, you’ve outgrown it or it’s outgrown you recognise it and have the courage to address it. Sometimes we are held hostage to our work by finances, confidence issues, etc. If you’ve been in your role and the same organisation so long that you lack the confidence to move on even though it no longer meets your needs, take control, plan, develop yourself, get a mentor and prepare to move on. Find the support you need to make the change.
6.Believe in yourself. You’ve invested in your career, chances are if you’ve got a good network of people around you, and people trust you to lead and get things done, you are doing well. Believe in yourself enough to take a risk. Step out of your comfort zone and stretch your capability. Face your fears and remember there is no such thing as failure only feedback and an opportunity to learn and improve.
7.Develop and engage with key links and networks. Build strong and vibrant connections that will stimulate energy and enthusiasm. Develop relationships with peers in and outside of the organisation that will be a source of mutual support, a resource network and to create opportunities for one another. Great leaders make influential connections and gather resources to draw upon a diverse network of skills, feed their knowledge base and to drive success. Surround yourself with the right people.
8.Invest in self care. We are operating in the context of rapid change, technological advances, economic and political uncertainty, and keeping one step ahead requires a healthy mind and body. Protect and nurture your mental and physical health. Acknowledge warning signs. Be aware of your limits or triggers. Make time for yourself. TOP TIPS HIGH Energy Business Leader
9.Honesty is the best policy. Honesty bestows confidence. The ability to be honest with yourself brings a personal understanding that develops self confidence. Honesty and integrity within business relationships brings trust and rapport. Anyone can follow a leader because of their rank or perceived authority, but trust and personal values deepen the leadership relationship to gain true following.
10.Continuously Develop. Remember personal development and career development is a continuous journey. Nothing stands still we are continuously learning and developing. Invest in your development. Make personal development a constant on your career plan. Discuss it with your direct line manager, including the ways development and new experiences can be achieved. Also keep it on the agenda with your mentor.
I’m always excited to discuss leadership issues and your experiences. Why not contact me, I’d love to hear your thoughts.