At lower levels, the requirements for good leadership are mostly technical or task-focused. Whether in sales, accounting, or operations, you contribute by ensuring the work gets completed within a certain time frame and in ways that meet set standards.
As you begin to move up leadership levels, however, you can no longer allocate your time to putting out fires and handling tasks yourself. You must shift from doing the work yourself to getting the work done by others. If you don’t value the success of others, you will fail to inspire and support the performance of those who report to you.
Here are 12 simple strategies that shift your focus from managing tasks to leading people:
- Speak with genuine conviction about the meaning and purpose of your work.
- Maintain a positive, optimistic attitude in the face of challenges.
- Inspire others to perform “beyond expectations” rather than merely “at expectations.”
- Initiate and build good relationships with others in your organization, including people you don’t already know.
- Welcome assignments that provide opportunities to work with a wide variety of people.
- Be responsive to others’ requests for your time.
- Discourage destructive comments about other people.
- Intentionally develop a large network of people who you can call on for support or just to share information.
- Facilitate discussions where everyone feels comfortable, listened to, and open to sharing.
- Defer to others when they have more expertise.
- Provide honest, direct, and timely feedback to develop your staff.
- Ensure that people grow in their jobs by learning new skills; seek out challenging opportunities for your staff.
At higher leadership levels, you will work with a wider variety of people than ever before. You need to be sensitive to diversity issues and be able to communicate clearly and effectively with many different types of people and personalities. Inspiring larger groups of workers through the variety of communication tools is essential.
You must also recognize that making time for others, building trust, and managing impressions are now important responsibilities. More than that, you must perceive these other-directed activities as mission-critical to your own success.