Wednesday, May 25, 2016

How to Transition from Boss to Situational Leader

a businessman is in front of a chart that compares a boss to a leader

When you want to grow from managing people as a “traditional boss” to truly leading people, there are a lot of changes you will need to make. Most importantly among them are 5 leadership skills that will set you apart. They are skills that have been found missing in leaders in almost every situational leadership training program that we have delivered over the last 20 years.

Before you begin reading the list, take stock of what you think are your personal strengths and weaknesses.  Be aware of your own limitations and be determined to improve. Ask for and be open to feedback from coaches, colleagues and subordinates. True leaders are willing to admit their shortcomings and are open to learning how to improve.

Here are 5 overall leadership skills that you can learn about in situational leadership training that will prepare you both for managing effectively (unlike the stereotypical “boss” described above) or for leading effectively:

  1. Motivate
    The best leaders understand what spurs their followers toward dedicated action. They know how to delegate and take advantage of what their employees like to and do best. They encourage and manage performance in a way that increases their employees’ discretionary effort and engagement.

  2. Inspire
    A gifted leader knows how to create a vision that inspires others to help realize it. Employees commit to their leader’s goals for the organization and know that their contributions are fully recognized and appreciated.

  3. Adapt
    Skilled leaders know that a big part of their job is to manage change effectively. They need to be able to communicate the reasons for change, overcome any resistance with the strength of their personality and example of commitment, and implement their change strategy with a positive and encouraging attitude.

  4. Plan
    Leaders are masters of strategy. They look at the big picture and then are able to translate the overall goals into steps to get there. They know what moves to make and they make them.  Their strategies are clear, believable and implementable.

  5. Develop
    Strong leaders believe in their people. They provide learning and career development opportunities for employees to learn and grow. Feedback and performance coaching become their tools for development, and their own commitment to continuous learning serves as the model.

Situational leadership is based on the premise that leadership is learned step by step as learners recognize the readiness and willingness of their followers to improve. How ready and willing are you to take that big step from manager to leader?

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