The transition from doing to leading for a new leader can be difficult and confusing. Though, it is admirable when as a new manager you are willing to keep “rolling up your sleeves” to start a tactical assignment.
You may have the stamina to wake up early, stay late at work to work out job demands in the short term. But as your responsibilities become more complex because of the increasing demands that is where the difference between an effective leader, and a super-sized individual contributor with a leader’s title becomes evident.
To be a good leader you must be more essential and less involved. Being active or busy is not enough. The most important thing as a leader is to be productive.
A motivational leader ‘shapes the thoughts and ideas of others instead of dictating their plans, having a sought-after perspective but not being a required pass-through, and seeing your own priorities come to life through the inspired actions of others.
Jesse Sostrin Draws out four strategies that leaders at all level can take to boost their leadership potentials
Start with your reasons
“When people lack understanding about why something matters and how they fit into it, they are less likely to care. But if you give them context about what’s at stake, how they fit into the big picture, and what’s unique about the opportunity, then you increase personal relevance and the odds of follow-through. Instead of giving just the business justification, make it a point to share your reasons. You can’t motivate somebody to care when you can’t express the reasons why it matters to you, so this essential step sets the table for effective partnering. Otherwise, you leave people to come to their own conclusions about what you’re asking them to do and why. The risk of misalignment is highest during the first conversation, so make sure you articulate your reasons from the start”.
Inspire their commitment
“People get excited about what’s possible, but they commit only when they understand their role in making it happen. Once you’ve defined the work, clarified the scope of their contribution, and ensured that it aligns with their capacity, carefully communicate any and all additional expectations for complete understanding. This is crucial when you have a precise outcome or methodology in mind. They can’t read your mind, so if the finished product needs to be meticulous, be equally clear-cut in the ask. Once clarity is established, confirm their interpretation (face-to-face, or at least voice-to-voice, to avoid email misinterpretations). “But I told them how I wanted it done!” will not be the reason the ball got dropped; it will simply be the evidence that you didn’t confirm their understanding and inspire their commitment”.
Engage at the right level
“It’s essential to stay involved, but the degree matters. You should maintain engagement levels sufficient for you to deliver the agreed-upon mix of support and accountability. However, there are risks when the mix is not right: Too involved, and you could consciously or inadvertently micromanage those around you; too hands-off, and you could miss the critical moments where a supportive comment or vital piece of feedback would be essential. To pick your spot, simply ask people what the right level is based on their style. This not only clarifies the frequency of touch points they will find useful but also gives them autonomy in how the delegated work will move forward”.
Practice saying “yes,” “no,” and “yes, if.”
“The art and science of being selective. Successful investors don’t divert their money into every opportunity that comes their way, so we should be equally discerning with our time. Start by carefully assessing every demand that comes your way, and align the acts with the highest-valued contributions that you’re most skilled at making. For those requests that draw on this talent, you say yes and carve out the time and attention to be intimately involved. But for those requests that don’t align, you say yes, if… and immediately identify other people to accomplish the goals through their direct involvement. You may still consult, motivate, and lead — but you’re essential as the catalyst, not as the muscle doing the heavy lifting. This discerning approach may mean delegating some tasks to others, negotiating a reduction in your direct contribution, or just saying no while making the business case for why your effort and attention will have a greater impact elsewhere”.
By Rebecca Essilfie