This week’s blog was inspired by Andy Stanley’s book “Next Generation Leader”. Five primary obstacles are identified by Andy for leaders to adopt their way of thinking.
1. THE QUEST FOR BALANCE
We have heard of being well-rounded and knowledgeable in all aspects of our respected profession. However, being a leader, it is more important to have a focus. Focus on your core competencies and build your team to bring the well-roundedness under your leadership. This is more challenging for leaders who are used to having their team together in one office and the new focus is on the remote team for today’s leader.
Defining what you can do best and make this your focus. Stick to it. My core competencies are: building trusted relationships, creating opportunities, being a leader, invigorating /energizing the team, telling our story and making new connections.
2. INABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN AUTHORITY AND COMPETENCE
Just because you have the authority, it does not mean you have the competency to lead every single aspect or task. Think about that for a moment. Good leaders need to know where they are competent, seek knowledge if they must, before deciding if they should exercise their authority. There are times when you will use “lack of authority” as part of your leadership role.
Providing autonomy with guidance, metrics to measure success and coaching show your competence to lead with authority. Ask questions more often, say thank you and reach out to your team with a phone call, a virtual discussion or walk over to their desk if they are in the office. Show them you are competent and your balance of authority to create a collaborative environment.
3. INABILITY TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN COMPETENCIES AND NON-COMPETENCIES
Leaders who are successful in some areas feel they can have the same success in most other areas. This is not always true. Know your competencies and grow your success in these areas. Know your non-competencies or more often referred to as your weaknesses. Educate yourself, delegate or simply say no if outside your competencies. This is my biggest challenge today: say no instead of saying yes most of the time. It allows me to step out of my comfort zone and learn new things. However, sometimes due to time challenges or lack of specific knowledge it could show up as not being as competent as we would expect.
All great leaders know most of their weaknesses and are not afraid to admit them. One of mine is “letting go” as many of you have heard me share a few times as a work in progress. Updated report: this is getting better! I like to be updated on fewer things now instead of everything and getting out of the way.
This is a very powerful obstacle. Leaders are reluctant to delegate certain tasks they dislike and presume others will not like them either. This is not usually the case. As the leader, you must learn everyone on your team benefits when you delegate tasks to others when it is not part of your focus or tasks that are out of your core competencies.
I always find myself feeling guilty handing off proposal preparations for pricing and specifications when I can do this myself. It is best to delegate since it is virtually impossible for me to be on top of all the changes happening hourly in our sector. We have a great team that takes care of these types of responsibilities!
5. UNWILLINGNESS TO DEVELOP OTHER LEADERS
Tough one for most leaders to fully embrace. When we get caught in the trap: “If I want it done right, I have to do it myself” we have to look in the mirror. As the leader, we must provide the tools each team member requires to be successful, to help them grow and understand the value of their role and responsibilities.
Remember, your team follows the way you have led them. If there is no one to delegate to, then it is the leader’s responsibility to build up their team and create leaders. It takes time to develop leaders. For some roles, it could take years. Have a plan, focus and most of all be nurturing and caring. Today, genuinely caring about each other is at the top of the list. This will help leaders develop other leaders.
What is the biggest challenge you are facing?