What Got You Here Won't Get You There

Oct 11, 2020

Many companies use the following traditional strategy when appointing new managers:
“You are the best seller we have in this company, and you have achieved outstanding results for many years, so naturally we think you also would make a good leader. So here you go; here is the management responsibility of the entire department. Congratulations, you are now our new Sales Manager!”

This is a BIG mistake.

Many people believe it is easy to be a leader and that taking on responsibility for an entire department or team is not something that needs extra competence or knowledge.
I think they are wrong, because being responsible for others than just yourself is a big assignment that you should definitely not take lightly. Good individual contributors do not automatically become good managers.
Not only does being a leader require a great deal of basic knowledge, but it also means you can no longer be the center of attention. Your time as a star is now over – and it is time for your employees to shine. From now on, your responsibility is to lift others up and make them shine.

Here are some things to consider if you have just started your leadership career:

  • Without integrity, you won't get far. People need to be able to trust you and what you say. Do not try to withhold important information or try to deceive your employees in any way.
  • Recognize that your employees are not like you. They do not necessarily like the same things as you do or are motivated by the same things.
  • Always be open and honest. Include your employees in your thoughts about operations and the way forward. This is your team - treat them as such.
  • Build team unity. The better you get to know each other, the better you will be able to work together. Be crystal clear on what your role is, both in relation to the company and your team. Do not do the tasks for which others are responsible and avoid micro-management. Let your employees take responsibility for their tasks and let them experience autonomy and mastery. 
    Take a look at Margaret Heffernan's TED talk and read the book FISH by Stephen C. Lundin, Harry Paul, and John Christensen. 
  • Know your own strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at and what are you not so good at? I have always hired people who are better than me, smarter than me, and who love to do what I hate to do. It is an obvious win-win.

The need for competent managers has become increasingly important as the world is rapidly changing, and companies who understand the importance of this, ensure that managers of all levels receive the necessary training needed.

I have been fortunate enough to "grow up" as a leader at Microsoft and have been sent to leadership development courses from the beginning of my career. The fact that I have always had the opportunity to participate in leadership trainings throughout the years has strengthen my personal skills and my leadership qualities.

I have given many leadership lectures for companies and organizations inside and outside the IT-industry over the past twenty years to share my experiences within this topic.
The one question I always get is: how and where we can get leadership and management training for new leaders that is available outside the classroom?  

I encourage everyone to find a provider of leadership training that suits your needs - it is without a doubt an incredibly good investment for new leaders. Even if you have been a leader for a while, you can always improve with new lessons learned.

According to Kouzes and Posner - ”The Leadership Challenge”, most people want a good leader to be Honest, Competent, Inspiring and Forward-Looking.

Are you?


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