XL Coaching

leader, leadership, manager, management

Strategies for Leadership & Self Leadership

leader, leadership, manager, management“Let’s get rid of management. People don’t want to be managed. They want to be led.
Whoever heard of a world manager? World leader, yes…
If you want to manage somebody, manage yourself.
Do that well, and you will be ready to stop managing. And start leading.”

1. Why don’t people want to be managed?

2. Given that leadership is king, how do we do it?

3. And how do we manage ourselves so that we can be ‘fit’ to lead others?

Strategies for Leadership

1. Why don’t people want to be managed?

Remember how it feels to be told what to do? There’s an energy that goes with it that invites a reaction. We can feel controlled, disrespected and resentful. Not to mention that when people are continuously told what to do, they forget how to think for themselves. Yet organisations need people to perform their duties, to the right standard in a timely manner. So how do we achieve this in a way that doesn’t switch people off? Let’s look to the words of the founder of Selfridges department store in London and the person who coined the phrase ‘The Customer Is Always Right’, H. Gordon Selfridge:

2. Given that leadership is king, how do we do it?

• The boss drives people; the leader coaches them.

In coaching terms we talk about ‘pulling’ rather than ‘pushing’ people. The manager tells people what to do, how to do it and then audits interim and final results. The leader communicates goals and then empowers people to achieve through coaching: asking how, listening, brainstorming strategies, and being a soundboard and reviews progress with the same coach approach.

• The boss depends on authority; the leader on good will.

The boss calls the shots and expects people to fall into line ‘because they are subordinates’. This creates dependence on the boss for decision-making and discourages initiative. The leader has faith that people will ‘go for it’ having invested energy in building relationships and trust. People feel good, creativity flourishes and motivation is high.

• The boss inspires fear; the leader inspires enthusiasm.

The boss grows a “my way or the highway” culture with negative consequences for making mistakes or stepping outside of the square. Morale, teamwork and innovation are often low, people stick to the rules and look out for number one. Leaders get excited about achieving the organisation’s vision and goals, which energises people and teams to want to achieve results.

• The boss says “I”; the leader says “WE”.”

The boss is seen as ‘one step up’ and separate from the team. A ‘them and us’ culture’ can develop. The boss takes glory for team results and points the finger when mistakes are made. This practice spreads throughout the organisation. The leader talks in the language of team, focuses on team goals and team results. Communication is open, people have an inert sense that they are part of something bigger and understand their contribution is valuable. They know the leader is on their side and will take equal responsibility for success and failure.

• The boss fixes the blame for the breakdown; the leader fixes the breakdown.

When a mistake is made the boss passes judgment and the ‘offender’ is singled out, which does zilch for self-esteem and breeds greater fear. Leaders permit mistakes and coach people to learn from them. When breakdowns occur the leader perceives that the whole team is responsible, including the leader, and improves systems or processes to ensure that the breakdown cannot recur.

• The boss says, “GO”; the leaders says “LET’S GO!”

Again, the boss messages his or her separateness from team. The leader communicates ‘we are in this together’. Both strategies differ significantly in their impact on team spirit and team performance.

Strategies for Self-Leadership

3. How do we manage ourselves so that we can be ‘fit’ to lead others?

• Be self aware
No one knows your strengths, weaknesses, motivations and potential better than you. Start a journal and get to know yourself better. Play to your strengths and natural motivations. Improve your weaknesses or better still recruit team players that can plug the gap for your weaknesses.

• Be self managing
Leaders are in the people business and can’t afford to switch people off. Understand how you react to others. Learn to manage your emotions and grow your emotional intelligence.

• Be self motivated
You’re far more likely to lead a team and yourself to success if you know where you’re going. Set goals that really inspires you so you don’t need to self-motivate. If your organization’s goals don’t inspire you, find a way to reframe them so that they align with your values and motivations.

• Be an expert schedule manager
The roller coaster doesn’t start to slow down as you climb the leadership ladder. Make a commitment right now to invest time in managing your time effectively. Make daily planning a sacred activity. Begin each day by asking – what is the most important thing I need to achieve today and prioritise that. Decide what activities you are willing to commit to and follow through. Delegate with confidence, this will save you time.

• Develop effective communication skills, verbal and written.
To lead yourself and others, it’s critical that you have a high level of communication skills. When you really understand your customer’s and team’s needs and wants you can effectively determine the next best step to enable them and you to succeed.

• Get a development team
People who lead or self-lead know it’s essential to learn from others. Once you’re clear about your career direction, identify your learning needs and bridge the gap. Invite feedback. Get a coach. Get a mentor. Develop ongoing relationships that will help you succeed. Leaders are lifetime learners. Don’t fall behind.

• Develop others
Leaders and self-leaders have a desire to share their knowledge and experience to help others grow and succeed. When you successfully develop others, you develop your reputation as leader. This is leadership in action. Begin it now.