Stepping up: the transition to leadership
Are you a star player in your current role as a team member or even as a manager? Are you regularly smashing your KPIs while being generally hardworking and adding massive value to your organisation?
Either you’ve already being tapped on the shoulder or the step up to leadership is just around the corner. However, that step from star player to star leader isn’t as straightforward as you might think. The truth is, the performance metrics that attract praise from senior staff now, aren’t always the same skill-sets that will make you an effective leader. So, what are the skills you need to be focusing on to go from being a manager to a leader?
A leader is anyone who steps up to inspire and motivate team members by focusing on encouraging teamwork and commitment to the team’s objectives. Effective leaders make everyone on their team feel empowered to do their best, and they offer opportunities for team members to learn and grow themselves. They also use their influence to get resources and feedback from the broader organisation which allows team members the space and power they need to effectively perform their roles.
While a manager simply assigns tasks that need to be done, a leader is someone who works collaboratively with team members so they can reach their desired goals. It’s about learning to leverage the right talents and skills within your team so that projects are completed on time and to a consistently high standard. Looking at each goal or project individually, your job as a leader is to leverage the team member whose strengths will be best suited to complete each task while ensuring they have the resources and motivation to do so.
As a leader, it’s not your job to do other people’s jobs for them. This is one of the biggest traps that people moving from management to leadership fall into. Your job as a leader, is to get others to execute projects and initiatives for you. At the top, you’re the only one who can drive the overall strategy, so being caught up with time-consuming administrative tasks will only undermine your team’s opportunity to achieve real results. Look at the tasks that are taking up your time each day and ask yourself who in your team has the capacity and ability to do those tasks for you. Not only will you be freeing up time to devote to strategic decision-making, you’ll be empowering team members by placing your trust in them.
Communicate with emotional intelligence
Self-reflection is an essential skill that every effective leader needs to master. Understanding your emotions and the role they play in your communication, both verbal and non-verbal, will allow you to approach discussions with team members in the most effective way. You need to understand that your every move is being dissected and studied by your team members so an understanding and mastery of emotional intelligence is vital if you want to become an effective leader. Take the time to monitor the way you speak to team members and ask yourself how you would view your communication style.
At AIM, we know that making the step up from manager to leader is a great accomplishment but it’s not a step you can take on your own. We’re here to partner with you on your leadership journey to make sure you have the right skills and knowledge to become a truly great leader. For professionals who’re looking for an effective program that will allow them to eventually transition from team member to team leader, our Certificate III in Business will allow you to develop a solid foundation of business knowledge and skills so you can be a star performer in any organisation.