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Leadership Articles: TALKING LEADERSHIP

 

A Feature Article from Gaynor Consulting Inc.
September 2016   |   By Dan Gaynor

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The Big Question

Over the years I have asked a great many leaders, from supervisors to senior executives, a favorite question. It goes like this: When you made your first move into a leadership role, from player to coach, what was the big change and what does this suggest about your work? Very few people answer well, I suspect because most haven't really thought about it. Most people simply move into a leadership role and start doing it as best they can with little or no preparation. The problem of course is that many miss the mark on one of the most important facets of the work.

I answer the question this way. When you take that first leadership job, often as a lead hand or supervisor of some sort, you move from doing things on largely on your own to doing them through the work of others. This is a really significant change that many people don't think nearly enough about. As you move up the leadership ranks leading larger groups of people, the implications become more significant.

So now on to the second part of our question. If your success as a leader is now determined largely by the efforts of others, it stands to reason that your efforts should turn toward building the motivation and capacity in others to do more and or better quality work. Think of them as the power that drives the team's vision, mission and day to day performance. As the people you lead get stronger, better, faster, they lift you. The mission you are leading can't help but be more successful.

And yet I see so many leaders who invest little or no energy in developing their team member's potential. Year in and year out they assign, direct and measure work, with little or no attention to team and individual development. They wonder why results are not improving faster. Investing your time in the development of others does so much more than build up their skills, it also builds motivation because coaching is a strong indication that a leader cares. And people work harder for leaders who care about them, who invest in them.

I believe the best leaders never leave teams just as they found them. They have what I call a healthy discontent. For them the team and its players are always a work in progress. Put another way, I can always tell when a leader has been on the scene - the team and its members are always changed for the better. This contrasts with the many managers I see. Their teams don't really change much at all. Tirelessly developing the potential of people should sit right at the top of every good leader's job description.

To go deeper on leadership call or write about a half day workshop or a keynote address.

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A Feature Article from Gaynor Consulting Inc.
September 2016   |   By Dan Gaynor

 

Has this article sparked some thinking?
Join our blog Talking Leadership here to share it with other readers.



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