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Reframing Thoughts

Game Figure, Symbolism, Leader, Group
Leading is a Different Dynamic 
What's relevant?

“Competence in tasks and responsibilities that make you qualified for a new role” are what we usually mean when we talk about relevant experience. What about the relevant experience that prepares us to function in the relationships required as a front-line employee? Think about your first jobs and how they were similar to non-work experiences/relationships you were familiar with. We've all had parents, teachers, coaches, and people who had authority over us and how we spent our time. That's a piece of the work relationship too. As we sign up to trade 40+ hours for a salary, we're going to be under the direction of someone else who is prioritizing the tasks required. And yet it's familiar, and we have some relevant experience to prepare us to succeed with an authority figure.

Think again to your first jobs and what it was like to be part of the team of employees. We have relevant experience to understand that dynamic as well, since we've had schoolmates, teammates, been in a choir or a play, and functioned in a group in one way or another. It's familiar, and we have some relevant experience to prepare us to succeed with those fellow employees too.

For your first management role, maybe over a department or a shift, maybe as a manager or a team lead, it may have been required that you provide support, training or direction so that everyone could successfully perform within a set of expectations. What prior relevant experience did you have? Often the relevant experience was your own outstanding performance performing within that same set of expectations. That's what got you promoted! You may have decided to simply show people how to perform like you and get the same results. What kinds of experiences could you draw on that would be relevant? Maybe thinking of how you helped someone learn something or helped a group of people do what was asked or expected of them in the past.

"Leadership does not involve changing the mindset of a group, but the cultivation of an environment that brings out the best in and inspires the individuals in that group..."
~ Arthur Carmazzi

But what if you are invited to a new role at the leadership table? What if you are now involved in creating a vision, changing processes that have long been in place, or taking a team in a brand new direction? There's a whole new set of skills required that go beyond an ability to complete a task. Suddenly your job becomes more focused on other people and their tasks. It relies more heavily on softer skills, beyond cooperation, like empowering others, managing communication, ensuring clarity, defining priorities, providing inspiration, feedback, and structure. What prior relationships or experiences mirror this for an employee who is taking on a leadership role for the first time? If it's their first time in leadership, they may not have much relevant experience, and yet they may have been chosen because of someone's belief in their potential. 

The fact is that some “managing” roles, and definitely all “leadership” roles, require people to embrace an evolving and different dynamic in their relationships at work. While they still have authority above them and peers around them, they now have direct reports they are influencing and who are influencing them too. How does a new leader learn the ropes? Some trial and error, for sure, is necessary. But leading is not a brand new concept, it's being studied and discussed all the time in our world. Training new leaders requires time, effort, and intentionality by those who are responsible for empowering them. Everyone learns differently, so that needs to be considered, and there are costs related to training, and even more costs related to not training. Consider your organization and some common leadership development options you may have been given or have used to resource others:

  1. One-on-one mentoring: set dedicated, regularly scheduled time aside to listen, mentor, and advise new leaders through the challenges of leading in new roles and relationships.
  2. Authors: whether you prefer a physical book, digital book, or an audio book, there are great authors who offer insight into every facet of leadership. Of course, I'm partial to John Maxwell, and I quickly refer both new and experienced leaders to "Develop the Leader Within You 2.0" and "The 21 Irrevocable Laws of Leadership". 
  3. Training: assessment based training impacts self-awareness and topic based training builds knowledge; both are important.
  4. Executive Coaching: a coach can guide a new leader to explore mindset, self-limiting beliefs, confidence, accountability, etc.

What's going on in your organization? Gone are the days when throwing people into the deep end of the pool was considered adequate leadership development. What if you need help in your own leadership development, and no one is providing any options? Create a plan and find resources for yourself. Let your leaders know what you'd like to learn, interview other leaders to learn their tips and best practices, read books, or if necessary, start looking for a new position where the company's leadership is as interested in developing and growing you as growing its metrics and the bottom line. 

Trudy Menke - Reframing Leadership 

Reframe Your Leadership, Reframe Your Results

Executive Coaching
Leadership and Communication Training
Team Cohesiveness Training
Hiring Assessments for Fit and Culture Match
Strategic Planning - Allovance™ Decision Coach
Core Values Exercises 
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Trudy Menke-Reframing Leadership · 55873 Great Blue Heron Ct · New Carlisle, IN 46552 · USA

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