The Leadership Activity Shift

As an individual contributor, your focus was no doubt on work associated with your own set of tasks, ensuring that you met the deadlines set for you; and producing the results that your boss, and your job description, demanded.  For the most part, while you might have had to confer with others, you largely worked independently and minded your own business.

So here’s the thing.  As a “boss” your job shifts from what it was before and becomes leadership and management.  Leading and managing operate in partnership with each other.  They are not the same.  However, if you work on the premise that you manage things and lead people, you’re probably on the right track

If, however, you get the two mixed up, things could get off to a very rocky start.  Basically, Leadership is about influenceManagement is about control.  Try to control people and you will get a poor result, plain and simple.

So, yes, in accepting a leadership role, your job has changed considerably and your activities must centre on achieving results through the activities of others, no matter how many or how few people are placed under your charge.

This is no mean feat simply because those who report to you will have varying degrees of skill and competence.  It will be your job, among other things, to:

  • know and understand the overall purpose of your unit and how it fits with the rest of the organization
  • Establish the direction and focus of your work group;
  • Ensure that everyone in your group knows, understands and aligns with that direction and focus;
  • Find out what those who will be working with you can do;
  • Find out what they need to learn;
  • Find out what resources they need to do their jobs well and;
  • Determine what it will take for them to produce the desired results happily and with confidence.

Once you discover all of this, then you must go about creating the working environment that will make it all possible.  Easy-peasy…okay, not so much.

In the Meantime: Something to read: The first 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at all Levels – Michael Watkins.

Also: Here’s a link to an insightful article written by Mr Watkins about the changes that happen when people move from peer to leader roles.



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