I think I have this conversation at least twice a week about taking that step into leadership is a large step and how we need to learn a few things before we actually take that step. So part of my passion is to really get out there and be talking to people about what do they need to be really successful in leadership, and this is definitely one of them. There’s a few things that we need to learn before we can truly be leading a group of people.
One of the first things is, number one, leading is a skill, not a title. So we are currently, when you’re sitting in whatever role that you doing an amazing job in, just before you get promoted, you’re amazing at that skill, you’re an expert in that area. But leadership is not about a name on your door, or a name on your desk, or on your badge that you wear to work every day. Leadership is a skill. Leading a group of people is not something that everyone can do. But we need to understand when we step into that leadership role that we’re taking on new skills, we’re going to be learning new skills, and that we’re going to use that expertise that we’ve already got, but then we need to add that people side of things, about how do I lead and engage and encourage and do all of the things I need to do as a leader.
A second thing is, while your expertise is so valid, it’s not the key to stepping up to be a leader. So what I see in a lot of organizations is you’re really great at that particular skill, you’re an expert in it, so you’re chosen for promotion. But we miss something about, well, you’re actually going to need something else when you take the next step up that ladder. You’re actually going to need a few more tools in your tool belt to help you succeed at that next level. And this is what leadership is all about, understanding human beings, understanding what they need to actually achieve the results.
And here’s the thing, when we step up into that next leadership role, even if it’s not your first, whatever our next leadership role is, it actually requires something a little different from us, because we’re actually taking a step up. So taking that step up the ladder, we actually need, when we’re actually taking that step up, we need to be thinking about what else is this going to need from me, what is this going to need from me? And what are my people going to need from me as a leader? Because that expertise is great, that’s filled up your tool kit of the expertise in that area, but they’re also going to need a few other tools to help you, or you’re going to need a few other tools to actually help you along in your journey.
So that leads to me to number three, so before we can actually lead, we must understand what leadership is. So leadership isn’t just telling people what to do or saying I’m a leader or having a title, any of those things. Leadership is actually getting a group of people to achieve a common goal. Leadership is actually getting the best out of these people, getting them excited, getting them to achieve their goals, getting them developed and helping reached the overall vision or goals or purpose of the business. So before we can actually lead, we need to understand what that looks like, because I think there’s still people out there that think leading is sitting at a desk and telling people what to do. Well, there’s actually a little bit more to it than that, actually, there’s a lot more to it than that.
So what do we need to learn before truly leading? We need to learn it’s a skill, not a title. We need to learn that our expertise is great to have in our tool kit, but we’re going to need other tools. We need to learn how to lead and we need to understand what leading and leadership is before we can lead.
So if you’re sitting in that role, ready to take that step, take a few moments and think about what other tools do I need in my tool kit, to actually take that next step up the ladder, and what is my understanding of leadership and what else do I need to add to that understanding and how do I do that. So some great questions to get you thinking about what do I need to learn before I’m truly leading.
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