“Show me a great leader and I’ll show you a great team. Show me a collection of great teams and I’ll show you a thriving, triumphant organization” – Diane Zile, CEO & Founder, JERA Partnerships
Most leaders have been, developed, coached and mentored – some professionally, most by observing and imitating the leaders they have experienced throughout their career. Yet many organizations claim that their leaders are not prepared to lead their organization.
So… while imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, it appears it is not the best way to develop great leaders. Many leaders lead the way they think they should lead, based on what they have experienced in their career, rather than leading from their own innate talent and skill.
The odds of the leaders that are “observed and imitated” being great leaders is not encouraging. Why does this happen? Most often it’s because these leaders have moved into position without effective preparation, usually for one of the following reasons defined below:
- Immediate Context: Promoting someone based upon immediate need within the organization. These promotions often occur when an individual has a lot of experience and tenure in their department and can fill a current need without creating any short-term or noticeable loss of productivity.
- The Best Individual Contributor: In many cases organizations promote their best individual contributors, from a non-managerial role, into leadership positions without any accompanying leadership training because they are the “best and know everything” about what goes on in their area.
- Standout Characteristics: Promoting someone based on a visible, but limited number of positive stand-out characteristics that are noticed by others in the organization, rather then taking into consideration all aspects of the individual and their leadership practices.
- Premature Promotion: In order to ensure key employee retention, organizations accelerate career paths and promote too early in the leadership development cycle. While individuals feel the immediate thrill of promotion this is often followed by the panic of not being prepared to lead effectively.
Individuals that ascend into leadership positions without a sound understanding of themselves, their leadership style and effective leadership practices will find that under the pressure of leadership their confidence is often rattled. When this happens, they often transition to “doing” rather than leading and defaulting to the practices of those leaders they observed during their career… and depending on the skill level of those being imitated, that’s a problem.
As stated by John C. Maxwell in “The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership” the capability of an organization’s Leadership is a lid on the organization’s overall performance.” Knowing that, why do “71% of companies feel their leaders are not ready to lead their organizations into the future”?
It’s time for a different approach to leadership coaching.
Experience shows that most people are not leading as their authentic self. We see many people gain an impression of what good leadership is that is not compatible with who they actually are in their everyday life. They believe they have to behave in a certain way to be a strong leader… this puts leaders in constant conflict with themselves and does not make for great leaders or great teams.
The most successful leaders inspire trust and confidence in their teams because they have learned to lead confidently as their true self, understand their leadership style and its impact on teams, understand and act on good leadership practices, have a plan that both leads and includes their team, have a method for ensuring things get done and are planning for the future.
While not part of traditional coaching, taking enough time to understand “Who I am” helps leaders who have not considered the the answer to this question become more aware and confident. This is the bedrock upon which good leaders operate. These leaders will not be easily swayed by group think or practices and will be comfortable in they way they lead their teams. Their teams will know they are leading as themselves and not trying to be someone or something else.
Everything a leader does or doesn’t do is observed and evaluated by their team and their peers. Understanding their leadership style and how they can use it to accomplish organizational goals is critical to a leader’s success. Supplementing their own styles with a working knowledge of great leadership principles and practices, allows them to internally compare and develop their own unique leadership “best practices.”
Also, supplementing their leadership coaching by developing a strategic plan that is aligned with an organization’s or department’s goals is often the key to achieving a higher level of influence and impact. Among other things, this strategic plan should identify the current state of the organization or team, identify trends and risks, consider how teams should be aligned to achieve success, create an actionable plan to implement the strategy and a system to monitor progress. Developing this thoughtful, strategic approach with a coach builds a strong foundation for the leader to succeed.
According to the State of the American Manager report,”18% of those currently in management roles demonstrate a high level of talent for managing others, while another 20% show a basic talent for it. Despite these low percentages, these two groups of managers contribute about 48% higher profit to their companies than average managers do.
“What could you achieve if you put an Authentic Leader into your next open leadership role or provided expanded coaching to an existing leader in your organization?
If you’d like to explore the possibility of making this happen for you and your organization, we’d love to talk with you. Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and begin your own journey towards greater impact and succsess.