A person’s effectiveness is determined in large measure by his or her leadership ability, but the skills required by leaders are very different from those required for a management role. Many people get promoted into management because they demonstrate high-level technical skills and perform at higher levels than their co-workers. That does not mean, however, that these high performers are necessarily capable of leading people
Technical skill and high performance simply do not guarantee success in a management role. Once a person has accepted the new position, he or she must demonstrate or develop leadership ability to be effective. This means they must be able to coach, influence, and communicate with others. Leaders know how to build a team, achieve results through others, and leverage their team members’ strengths.
The role of a manager is quite different from the role of a leader. Managers solve problems, plan, organize, and administer budgets. Leaders must also be able to build a talented team, provide training, delegate assignments and responsibilities, recognize employee accomplishments, and mediate conflicts when needed. Leadership requires more creativity and innovation than managing and organizing the activities of a team.
Leaders with passion and commitment are able to create a culture of team collaboration. They can inspire all members of the team to achieve higher business results by applying their strengths and talents to the team’s goals. Team members also feel engaged in their work and are more loyal to the company.
What is True Leadership?
True leadership requires moving beyond formal authority. A manager’s title automatically gives that person some formal ability to reward and punish others in the organization. Instead of relying on this “positional power” alone, leaders also influence people through the use of personal vision, passion for the work, integrity, trust, and respect. They know how to engage in dialogue, provide feedback, and facilitate positive outcomes.
As leaders move higher in the organization, people-related skills become more important than technical knowledge about the work being performed. Supervisors, managers, and middle managers are responsible for gaining results through others.
At the most senior leadership levels, the focus becomes more strategic and conceptual. Leaders of leaders are even further removed from the tasks and activities being completed on a daily basis. The focus of senior management is on ensuring that the organization’s middle managers are effective leaders and on developing the strategy for moving the business forward.
The successful transition from individual contributor to leader does not happen automatically when a person is given a promotion or new job title. Mastering the ability to effectively lead a team and coach others can take years. This isn’t at all unusual. CMOE has worked with hundreds of new leaders across the country to make sure this transition is successful. Moving from a first-line leader into a senior-leadership role is another significant transition. While senior leaders may have demonstrated the ability to lead a team, learning to think strategically is a skill that must be mastered by leaders at higher levels in the organization.
No matter what type of leadership transition you may be facing, CMOE offers tools, resources, and coaching to improve leadership effectiveness.