Continual analysis and rebalancing your use of various leadership skills is an important component to success. I learned this from an unexpected wake-up call.
My first leadership opportunity was a director of sales position, responsible for 15 outside salespeople working in 7 states. I accepted this position feeling confident in my leadership skills and excited to inspire the team.
We exceeded our goals that first six months, reinforcing my belief that I had a great team and I was an effective leader.
My impactful leadership lesson happened in a meeting with one of our salespeople. Near the end of our discussion, I asked how I could better support him. He hesitated for a moment, looked at me and said: “I don’t need another Mom, I need a coach”. It took all my willpower not to be defensive and I asked why he felt that way. There were several reasons and the most prevalent was my tendency to compliment and celebrate achievements, and not clearly define and communicate how he could be even better in his role.
I took a hard look at why I was leading in this unbalanced way, including my view of the effectiveness of past teachers and leaders. I concluded that I disliked being led by people who barked out orders, expected results, and rarely gave compliments or celebrated achievements. I was overcompensating for my past experience by leading from my nurturing side while failing to be a strong coach.
The leadership lesson: Our opinions on how to lead are influenced by our experience with past leaders. Identify what you liked and disliked about your coaching from past leaders and why. Ask your team members how you can support them more effectively. Then work hard to strike a balance in utilizing all the skills necessary to be an effective leader.
Author is June Olson
Visit June’s website HERE