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Why Your Managerial Skills Lack Leadership

So we can manage people and tell them what to do and how to do it. We are great with all the paperwork and admin that goes with the job. We most probably got to where we are because we were brilliant in doing the tasks. This makes you a good manager, but can you lead and motivate those around you to achieve the legacy you left behind when you were just one of them? Are you a real leader that others can look up to and mentor from you?

Here are some ways that will turn you into a leader:

1.   Let them do all the thinking

One of the keys to transforming performance is allowing your people to find their own answers. Let them think through their own issues rather than telling them what you think the solution is and what you think they need to do.

2.   Focus on solutions

Although problems can certainly be interesting to discuss, focusing on solutions is more useful. If you catch yourself focusing on a problem or the drama in a situation, or even getting bogged down in detail, refocus your attention on identifying and planning the way ahead.

3.   Remember to stretch

Quiet-type leaders and/or ‘comfortable-making-people’ leaders, make others feel uncomfortable. Great leaders stretch people to make them feel positively challenged and generate growth, and in growth there is aliveness, engagement and passion. All of these are necessary for achieving great performance.

4.   Accentuate the positive

By continually providing positive feedback in as many forms as possible over time helps to validate, confirm, encourage, support and believe in people’s potential. As people start to see themselves in a new light, reality starts to change as well.

5.   Put process before content

Be highly disciplined in all of your conversations and diligent in ensuring every conversation is as productive as possible. Get the process of any conversation right before getting into any of the content. Having a good process includes establishing clear expectations so you know at every moment exactly what you’re talking about, and why, and where you’re trying to get to.

6.   Listen for potential

If we’re not measuring and monitoring how people are growing, we can easily fall into the trap of focusing on their problems. Listen for ‘where’ people are heading rather than for ‘what’ might not be working and see people for their potential.

7.   Speak with intent

Be succinct, specific and generous. Being succinct requires you to decide on the essence of what you want to say and say it in as few words as possible. This will keep people’s attention and interest. It also allows people to create their own mental models that correlate to the ideas you are trying to share. Being specific means paying close attention to what others say so we can be accurate and detailed in our responses. Being succinct and specific together means including everything that’s relevant in a dialogue, and nothing irrelevant. Being generous is a subtle thing – it’s about being committed to the other person understanding your message. It means putting yourself in their shoes when you’re speaking and taking care to use words they will connect with. Being generous is also a way of showing you care about the other person and it helps to build trust. This invites the other person to take the conversation to a deeper level and in so doing, opens up the possibility of change.

8.   Dance toward insight

This step involves asking people the type of question that will help them think more clearly and identify their own ‘aha’ moments or insights. To get this dance right, first ask permission before getting personal or taking a conversation to a deeper level, then make sure you’re on the same page, and then ask your question. As you facilitate this dance, you’ll see people’s faces change as they move from the awareness of a dilemma, to reflecting, to having an illumination and then being ready to take action.

9.   Create new thinking

Quiet leaders do this by starting the conversation by identifying the current reality of the other persons thinking, exploring alternatives for action with them and then tapping into their energy and motivations.

10.   Follow up

To help people recognise and further embed any habits they’re developing or to ensure that their new thinking becomes a reality, it’s important to follow up with them. By doing this in a positive and supportive way, we give them the encouragement they need to turn their delicate new circuits they’ve created in their brains into full-blown hard wiring.

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