Let’s face it, there are too many people in leadership and management roles who aren’t effective and some are just plain inept.
And because most people leave managers not companies, AND with workplace talent being at such a premium globally, it is more important than ever to have the right people in leadership roles. Great leadership has been shown to be highly correlated to organizational success.
So how did we get to this point?
My experience tells me that over the past decades, technical experts were promoted into leadership roles before they really reflected on what their new role really required to be successful. Many took the opportunity because it was what was expected by their company, it lead to greater compensation, or if they didn’t take it, their future options were limited. In short, they took the promotion for themselves not for the people they would be serving.
With the growing shortage in leadership as Baby Boomers retire and the Millennials are not yet prepared to lead, there is a risk that businesses will continue this theme of promoting individual contributors who aren’t prepared and don’t have a firm understanding of what it takes to be a good leader.
Times have changed and organizations are flatter with less upward mobility, but there are now greater opportunities for team and project leadership across multiple business functions.
Leadership is no longer about position but responsibility and influence. Today there are more opportunities to take on the role of leader, but are you ready?
Here are seven questions to ask yourself before you take on a leadership role.
- Relationship or Results — Leaders need to balance their behaviors between relationships and results. How balanced is your leadership style? If you aren’t clear on the answer, I recommend Areté Consulting’s Business DNA discovery tool or the Hogan Leadership assessment. If you find that you have a strong preference between one of these extremes, then you need to understand the consequences and make development plans accordingly.
- Commitment to Development — One of the single most important responsibilities a leader has is to develop himself as well as those around him. How do you plan on developing yourself as a leader? And self-development is only the start. What level of commitment do you have to develop, coach, and mentor your employees? What is your plan for developing others?
- Performance Feedback — Leadership is about inspiring others to perform to their full potential. And when people aren’t performing to expectations, difficult conversations need to take place in a timely manner. How do you respond to conflict and delivering negative feedback?
- Delegation — As a leader, no longer is your main responsibility to get tasks done on your own but to delegate to get work done through others. How comfortable will you feel in delegating to others? What is your plan to insure work that is delegated is completed to your expectations?
Now that you have asked and answered, are you confident that you have the energy, discipline and mindset of a talent obsessed leader?
Will you be the leader everyone wants to work for because you demonstrate care, understanding, and accountability?
It is okay to say no, I’m not ready. This demonstrates your self-awareness and commitment to do what is best for the organization. This doesn’t mean that you won’t be ready in the future.
What this does mean is, this is the time for a development conversation and plan with your manager so you will be prepared and confident for the next leadership opportunity.