Leadership had evolved from the paradigm of Management some thirty-plus years ago.
The management gurus have become leadership coaches. The old paradigm was disclaimed from being not so useful and not giving space for people to grow. But even today, most of the management tools are still in practice. People who called them leaders are still using much more management tools as leadership development techniques. Companies struggle with this because people leave them. And senior leadership teams think of new and new “winning leadership development approaches” every next year.
There is a simple mantra that Management means to control, and leadership is more connected with empowerment.
But even reading this simple mantra many times, some “new leaders” can not understand what they are missing. I am offering you four simple techniques from my experience to help you become a real leader and act as a coach and empowering person to your team.
A year ago in my current company, we had started a procedure of retiring the company Procurator. The lady was amazingly nice with people and always wanted to help them, even if she has to let her work back and go with them on their issues and give them some answers from her rich experience. That was good for the employees, and the work was going flawlessly, but the final result was not promising. Like the help he offered, the lady also took full responsibility if things did not happen as planned. While the story is true, that made all the people she was “helping” less skilled in analyzing problems and getting to a solution by themselves.
The first thing for a leader to do is not to “help” others, like the Procurator at my company, but lead employees in the team toward getting through the issues by themselves. That is easily achievable if you use questions that guide and support employees toward the path they have chosen to deal with a problem and distance themselves from giving answers and solutions based on experience.
The leader must understand that the path walked may not be the same as the path in front of us now. The guidance here must focus on helping team members walk their course, the way they will learn to do it sustainably in time.
Be a resource
People learn and grow because they utilize resources. For a leader, to be a resource does not mean to offer a solution. Everyone, who wants to succeed, will find their way. But what people need is information. The best for the leader is to be recognized as a source of information and enabler of resources. If team members do not see the leader in that light, they will likely move to another leader to help them grow through experience. The leader must act as a source for resources and enabler of team members’ decisions and actions toward their path for change and growth.
What Management paradigms teach people was that the managers own it all. They were responsible for everything and everyone. That caused much stress and, at the same time, stopped opportunities for growth and development in the companies. For a leader to be recognized as an opportunity enabler, the change needed is o focus more on transferring. The responsibility for a particular task or project can not be only in the hands of the leader. But to enable growth and development, the leader needs to give not only resources and facilitate change by ongoing support but also transfer responsibility and ownership. This transfer allows team members to learn from mistakes and plan real steps for improvement.
There is an instant willingness in every one of us to do the work because we know how to do it. Next, we deliver results, and every next time we need to finish work, we can only rely on ourselves. To change this and allow the team to grow, the leader must hold back. There will be mistakes, people will feel uncomfortable when asked for errors, but they still need to learn to do things their way. The leader must focus on the results and leave everyone’s way to get to the end. An essential element of the process is to ask the right questions. These questions must urge the team members to think in a direction solution but must not allow them to extract the answer from a simple YES or NO.
For the leader, there is no right or wrong behavior to at with its team. But the action shown defines how the team will handle issues and new situations in the long term. The leader’s goal must not be to manage the process and give the right answers but to support others to get to the final destination in their own unique and exciting way by supporting the journey, without interfering with ready t implement decisions and standards.