ask the EXPERT
Organisations often make the easy mistake of promoting great technical staff into management roles without equipping them with the correct tools, skills or support network to be successful. With the right development and support to hand, you need never have another sleepless night or wake up and sit bolt upright in a panic in the middle of the night in a fit of worry because you have forgotten to do a crucial task but had forgotten amidst your 50 other to dos.
In my opinion, being a leader is one of the loneliest jobs you will ever undertake. Somehow as a leader, you are expected to have all the answers and never let your guard down and scream that you don’t know where the solution lies. It’s ok to not know all the answers, but, even better when you don’t, having a coach or mentor to bounce ideas off of is crucial, not only to support you make the right decisions, but for your wellbeing as a leader. Having a coach, who will challenge and support you to make tough decisions, will keep you focused and help you to note the achievements and progress you are making. Choosing the right coach for your career will be the best decision you ever make. My business would not have come to fruition had I not gone to see a coach and it will form a huge part of your self development as a leader. Surrounding yourself with people who have management and leadership experience is a great way to help you develop in your role, too.
Learning how to effectively give and receive feedback is one of the most crucial skills you will develop as a leader. Often it might feel easier to put off that difficult conversation with Jeremy from accounts because it will probably cause major friction in the short term, but asking yourself the question “what might be the long-term cost if I don’t have the conversation?” is a great way of assessing is this a conversation for now or later? Sometimes it is ok to delay conversations, but most of the time things will just fester and become much bigger than they ever needed to be if they had only been dealt with a bit earlier. Be honest, provide reasons why you are giving the feedback and be sure to think about the other person’s point of view before approaching the individual. Being empathetic and listening can often be a great way to start before diving in head first with feedback. By giving feedback you will soon become much more comfortable to seek and receive feedback. By asking your team and peers to give you regular feedback, you will be able to develop your performance and acknowledge the progressive improvements you are making. By adopting these two simple steps to support new leaders, your organisation will be setting leaders on the path to success. Obviously it takes much more than these two steps to create a great leader, but they certainly are a great foundation.
■ Please get in touch if you would like to discuss leadership further at email@example.com