All of the managers and supervisors in your organization aren’t destined for leadership success. Many just aren’t natural born leaders.
In fact, companies pick the wrong people to be managers more than 80% of the time, a Gallup poll found.
But there’s hope for everyone – even those who aren’t natural-born leaders.
“Leadership … can feel like a bottomless pit of problem-solving and adult-sitting,” says Scott Miller, author of Management Mess to Leadership Success. “But it doesn’t mean leadership isn’t important. On the contrary, often the things we struggle with yield the biggest return.”
Many leaders struggle early because they aren’t equipped to lead themselves – they approach the position with an unclear vision and misguided attitude, Miller says.
To lead with a winning vision and attitude:
New leaders sometimes bring arrogance to the table because they feel the need to validate their rise to power.
They might “one-up” colleagues and employees, and miss opportunities to learn.
To stay humble, concern yourself more with what’s right and less with being right.
Regularly get feedback and advice from people whose perspective is different than yours.
Leaders with a scarcity mentality – “get mine first” – often fail. Leaders with an abundance mentality – “there’s plenty for everyone” – get ahead.
To think abundantly, look for opportunities to share credit for achievements. Praise and reward as often as possible.
Listen more, talk less
The best leaders listen more so they have to talk less. How’s that? They take in as much information about their people, situations, demands and problems so they say the right things at the right times.
To be a better listener, discipline yourself to focus intently on those who need you to hear. Listen to understand points-of-view, facts and emotions. And use all these to form your message.
Be honest about intentions
Some bosses have expectations and don’t say them. Conflict, confusion and hard feelings arise when expectations are mismatched or unfulfilled. And it’s virtually impossible to match or fill unspoken expectations.
To declare your intent, make your goals and expectation clear in conversations about projects, changes and employee behavior.
Make and keep commitments
All bosses are busy. “Everyone’s bandwidth is different in terms of their capacity to take on and execute their commitments with excellence,” says Miller. Poor leaders over-commit and under-deliver.
To do right on commitments, step back before agreeing. Make sure you have the “bandwidth” to do what you say, when you say, in an excellent way.
‘Carry your weather’
Leaders face professional and personal challenges all the time. Poor leaders let those negatively affect their work and employees. Great leaders “carry their own weather.” They control their emotions and resist the temptation to let drama in on their work.
To carry your weather, stop if a situation starts to hijack your emotions. Before you act, think about the most professional way to respond and carry on until the situation is resolved.