Leading people is a privilege. Because true leaders know how to engage, influence and inspire others into their potential. They make a profound difference to others – one most people would aspire to make.
Leadership development is a spectrum of personal growth and development stemmed in building self-awareness over time – there’s no point of arrival. No one ever finishes learning to lead.
90% of leadership is self-leadership
Learning to become self-aware so probably the most important leadership lesson of all when it comes to relationship building and leading others. It’s much easier to see the blind spots and weaknesses in others than to see them in ourselves. It’s easier to spot someone else’s ego than stopping ourselves from justifying why we need to be right. That’s why leadership is hard.
It’s also hard sometimes to know where you’re at on the leadership spectrum and whether you’ve made the transition from manager to leader. Regardless of title, seniority or pay packet, there are plenty of people who think they lead, when they actually manage. Knowing where you sit on the spectrum can guide your leadership development focus and the game you need to play, for example, learning how to develop someone sounds great, but if you haven’t yet learned to build trust in your team, you have a bigger fish to fry.
Do you inspire you?
I worked with a client who believed she inspired her team. She said “I know how to get people to get the job done”. When I asked her what was inspiring about that, she had an ‘aha’ moment of reality. I then asked her “Do you inspire you?”. There was dead silence. What would your answer be?
How to know if your managing
Managers focus on the day to day to guide others to do their job successfully.
- You notice what is being done and not done compared to the status quo
- Your team does the job required measured by performance benchmarks
- The focus is on task and process
- You react to the day to day issues
- You know how to get people to ‘get things done’
- You value things being stable and predictable
- Your attitude is ‘it is what it is’ – which means ‘I don’t like it, but I’ll live with it’.
How to know if your leading
Leaders focus on the future opportunity/possibility “what’s the next improvement”.
- Others get excited and inspired by where you’re taking them. To them, their job has meaning – it’s more than just a job.
- You inspire others to lift their performance and take ownership of their growth
- You give feedback straight away that is open, transparent and useful
- You improve results through innovations, brainstorming, exploring
- Your day to day is focused on creating tomorrow rather than managing today
- You keep everyone focused on the big hairy goals
- You believe that taking risks and making mistakes a great way to learn
- Your team knows the values and lives them
- Your team does more than the job required because they know you’d do it for them. You have each other’s backs.
- Everyone on your team feels valued and knows how their contribution fits into the bigger business vision
- You focus on the needs of others before you focus on your own needs
- You show behavioural flexibility to adapt and meet the needs of your team and people around you.
Against these two lists, how would you rate yourself as a manager versus a leader. Are you a better manager? Taking time to assess where you’re at, where your leadership growth needs to be focused, what you need to get there, how you are progressing, what needs to change, and what will prevent you from getting there, is well worth your time to figure out. Seek help if you need to.
Who is the future leader you want to become? What’s your bigger leadership game going to be about? How are you going to inspire you?