Updated: Jun 1
As a leader, you might have a lot of responsibility at work. Perhaps you have subordinates to coach or mentor, as well as clients with whom to negotiate. You might also have superiors, who will want quantitative evidence of how well your department is performing, or if your company is on track to meeting the goals set for the quarter or year.
As such, it is understandable that you might feel a bit of pressure, after all, you have multiple stakeholders and a wide range of tasks to perform. However, this should not be a reason for your social skills to stagnate. If anything, being a leader should be a reason for you to step up your interpersonal communication.
Managers who could use improvement often display the following characteristics and would benefit from reversing or improving on these:
1. You lack perspective
Leaders should not forget that their position does not ensure their infallibility. A good leader is the first to admit their shortcomings and to recognize their failures. A cycle of learning does not culminate with having ‘passed or failed,’ with winning or losing a negotiation, or with earning or losing money.
The learning ends when someone has taken a failure as a way to diagnose processes, and construct new ways of proceeding. If your subordinates see your attitude toward failure, they will be confident in pursuing directions that they feel will be good for the company.
Aside from humility, openness also means having the insight to prepare for technological change and researching on how it impacts the company. The world is headed for rapid digitisation and automation, and a company that does not account for this is just building their own failure. When you are proactive about learning how technology impacts your business, it will assuage your team and let them view these developments in a neutral light.
2. You are ambivalent to change
Innovation is embraced, not feared by a good leader. After all, innovation is all about defining how to move forward considering present circumstances. A leader who dislikes adapting to new processes or new ways of thinking will also limit the organisation’s growth. As a leader, you should get clear about supporting changes, whether technological or structural, that your company is going through.
However, change for change’s sake should also be avoided. When setting milestones for the company’s growth, there should be both clarity and realism. Helping your team focus on doable change will prevent you from wasting company resources on an initiative that is new on paper but does not provide anything in the long run.
3. You overextend yourself
Leaders are often go-getters, people who are not afraid to buckle down and get to work. They are hard workers and they know what they want. These are qualities that got them to their position in the first place, as they were and still are willing to put in the hours to get results for the company. Their dedication also shows that they believe in the company’s values, which is another reason for getting promoted. Overall, a good leader is a good follower.
The adage holds, though: what got you to Point A will not get you to Point B. The things that make you a good employee are not necessarily the ones that will make you a good leader. Unfortunately, many leaders put the team’s results over their own health or schedules, and take on tasks that are beyond their duties. As a leader, you must learn how to delegate.
When you do everything yourself, you do not help your subordinates become the best they could be. You also hurt your health, since you are essentially doing the job of an entire team.
Leaders are made, not born. A person who had worked for years in junior or associate positions cannot be expected to suddenly become a leader overnight. Fortunately, there are many resources that can help develop good employees into great leaders of high-impact teams.
If you are looking for a consultant for Executive Leadership, contact us at SKILLFIRE today. We provide seminars and courses helping companies in Melbourne and Sydney with leadership uplift, strategic agility, and more.
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