You can only lead people who respect and trust you. If your direct reports and team members were given a choice of three qualified leaders and you didn’t emerge as #1 or #2, you might feel like a puzzled, frustrated executive I once coached. With a deeply furrowed brow, she lamented, “My people are capable and well-trained. They have the kind of strong, independent mind we need in this organization. The problem is that we’re often at cross-purposes. My performance reviews and the team’s progress are lagging because my leadership is like a constant struggle to herd cats. I just can’t manage people who have no desire to be managed.”
This baffled executive was relieved when she discovered some basic differences between management and leadership. Critical insights allowed her to create trust in her leadership. She then built a winning team that weathered one corporate storm after another. Below are some of the key concepts we covered during her coaching sessions.
Leaders don’t manage people.
Managers manage things. Leaders lead people.
Leadership triumphs are not about the leader (you). They are related to the success of your direct reports and team members (them).
Excellent leaders empower people to achieve co-created goals that prepare them to realize their self-created, long-term career objectives.
RATE YOUR ABILITIES TO BUILD TRUST WITH YOUR DIRECT REPORTS AND TEAM MEMBERS
As you read the list below, identify your greatest leadership strengths and weaknesses.
I have a clear leadership vision and mission.
My direct reports and team members are fully on-board with my vision and mission.
We have co-planned implementation and evaluation strategies, so my entire team is actively engaged.
I know how to gain the attention of upper management so I can receive the resources I need for my direct reports and team members.
I’m very comfortable with my influence, persuasion and negotiation skills.
I’m honest and transparent when under pressure.
When times are tough, I inspire my direct reports and team members with optimism and persistence.
I support employees while I hold them accountable.
I encourage people to “fail forward” and explain why this is essential to their success and to the success of our team.
I use and explain relevant metrics to my direct reports and team members. This is a transparent process which makes performance reviews genuinely helpful to all parties.
I consistently monitor my integrity and check for consistency between my actions and words.
I’m more interested in learning how to be a better leader than in “being right.”
My professional goals are aligned with The Greater Good so I sleep well at night.
I’m comfortable delivering unpopular or controversial messages without becoming defensive or straining to avoid conflicts.
I’m crystal clear that my leadership success depends on the achievements of my direct reports and team members.
My people skills include understanding what motivates and inspires diverse personality types.
I know when and how much to challenge direct reports and team members.
I have a proven track record of enhancing team member’s job satisfaction and productivity.
I consistently advocate for my team with upper management, even when upper management withdraws support, such as during downsizing or bonus and salary cut-backs.
My actions are fair and impartial, even when I don’t particularly like an employee’s personality.
I encourage dissenters to openly communicate with me so I can learn and grow as a leader.
My skillsets include educating team members to prevent unnecessary conflicts and create collaboration.
I practice self-advocacy, including securing the compensation level and title I deserve.
I was happy with my last promotion / raise.
I was pleased with my last performance review and agreed with the conclusions.
I’m aware of the importance of self-care and stress reduction and I actively take excellent care of myself.
I’m comfortable helping an employee discover a new job when they are unhappy, unproductive or not a good fit for their current role.
Re-read the list of strengths and weaknesses you identified. Search for patterns. What are your greatest strengths? What do you need to improve?
MOST SUCCESSFUL LEADERS HAVE LEADERSHIP COACHES
Leadership is such a complicated network of constantly moving parts that most successful companies consider leadership coaching to be essential.
“Everyone needs a coach.” Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google
The average ROI (return on investment) of leadership coaching is over 500%. An experienced leadership coach will help you understand how to optimize your strengths and compensate for your weaknesses.
Are you ready to discover proven ways to excel as a leader? Click here to discover many tried-and-true strategies. Click here to complete a short application so I can contact you for a complimentary 20-minute consultation. If we decide we’re a good fit as client and coach, we’ll discuss a coaching agreement. I’m looking forward to getting to know you and being of assistance.