I have interviewed a few hundred people in my career, and surprisingly many of them say that their ultimate goal is to become leaders. It doesn't matter if the job they're applying for right now is about consultancy services, sales, development, or for a trainee position for that matter. They all dream of becoming leaders.
When I ask them why, just a few justify it with the fact that they thrive on developing people and that they want to achieve results through others. Almost all the people I've spoken to say they want to become leaders because it gives them a place in the leadership team. They want to be a part of the decision-making processes, they want a seat at the table, and they want the power of the leadership position. This tells me that the “Leadership status” is something people want, and they don’t always think about what that role really entails.
Let's look at why this is a challenge, both for the managers, the employees and the company overall.
First, the employees who get this kind of "manager wannabes" as their closest managers, will get a manager who doesn't really care about the people they're in charge of, but rather want the leadership position because it gives them a certain status.
In such cases, employees often feel neglected and demotivated. According to studies, as many as 70% of employees leave their job due to bad managers.
Since we spend most of our time at work, it is extremely important with a good corporate culture and good leaders. Managers affect the people who work in the company, which in turn affects the company's performance. Therefore, it is important that managers have the right motivation for their job as a leader.
For most leadership aspirants, it is about taking part in the strategy and growth as well as the day-to-day operations of their company. They want to be able to influence the company’s future, and the only way to do that is to take on leadership positions. They cope with personnel responsibilities, but generally hope that employees will motivate and engage themselves. They see people management as a necessary evil on the way to the top, and into the leadership team. This does not build good management culture.
Most of these people are highly skilled professionals with the experience and knowledge one wants to keep in company. They have a lot to add to the business, and they drive the company forward with their presence.
What do you do with talented people, who want to contribute to the company with their knowledge and expertise, but who are not necessarily suitable to be a people manager? Should you let your employees struggle with a "bad" manager, because you want these individuals’ competency in the leadership team? Or should you say no to these talents because they can't cope with personnel responsibilities?
This is where the company’s leader needs to think holistically and smart. It is possible to have skilled specialists as part of the management team, even if they do not have personnel responsibilities.
They need to retain skilled professionals in top management so that valuable knowledge and experience can be shared and developed. The company ensures that deep professional competence follows the career ladder, and not least frees the employer from a manager who does not like personnel responsibility.
Good people managers are crucial for a company to retain its good employees and motivate them further. It is up to each company to facilitate that you can have great individual contributors and great leaders in the same team.
“As we look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others” – Bill Gates.
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