Words of wisdom from Mr Jack Welch:
Understanding that becoming a leader means we will actually have to change how we act. Too often than not, people who are promoted to their leadership position miss that very point… and the failure to do so probably trips up careers more than any other reason.
The fact is, being a leader changes everything.
Before we are a leader, success is all about growing ourselves. Our individual contributions, it is about us raising our hand and us getting called on and us delivering the right answer.
When we become a leader, success is all about growing others. It’s about making the people who work for us smarter, bigger, and bolder. Nothing we do anymore as an individual matters, except how we nurture and support our team and help our members increase their self-confidence. We will get our share of attention from above, but only in as much as our team wins. To describe the other way around, our success as a leader will come not from what we do every day, but from the reflected glory of our team’s performance.
From the ranks, promoted to be a team leader, is a big transition. It’s hard. No doubt about that. Being a leader basically requires a whole new mind-set, one that is constantly not thinking “How can I stand-out”? But is thinking “How can I help my people do their jobs better”?
Sometimes that mind-set requires undoing a couple of decades of momentum. After all, we may have probably spent our entire life, starting in in grade school and continuing through our last job, as an individual contributor, excelling at “raising our hand.”
But the good news is, we were probably promoted because someone above in the organization believes we have the stuff to make the leap from star player to a successful coach.
That leap actually involve actively mentoring people. Giving feedback at every opportunity, not just annual or semi-annual. We should talk to our people about their performance after meetings, presentations, or visits to clients. Make every significant event a teaching moment, discussing with them what we like about what they are and doing ways they can improve. There is no need to sugarcoat our exchanges, use a total candor which happens incidentally to be one of the defining characteristics of effective leaders.
Getting into the skin of our people is another way of growing others. Exude positive energy about life and the work that we are doing together, show optimism about our future, and care. Care passionately about each person’s performance and progress. Our energy will energize those around us.
Being a leader, it’s not about us anymore. It’s about them.