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Leading VS Managing For Emerging Leaders

  May 15, 2020

This article was originally published on COACHA E-Newsletter on February 10, 2020.
Coach U Insights Blog

Leading VS Managing For Emerging Leaders

This is a slightly dramatized retelling of an experience one of my coaching clients recently created. 

Mark recaptured five hours every week that was otherwise wasted in “necessary” meetings. He immediately applied those five extra hours for more productive and strategic uses of his time like hiring, coaching, and strategic planning.  You may be wondering, “how?”  Simple.  He stopped going to those meetings.

“But I need you to be at those meetings,” George, his boss, said at one point. 

“That’s the best part,” Mark replied. “The ME that you want at those meetings - the perspective, leadership and authority you want me to represent - is now available in the form of Steve or Mary. I will be at those meetings because Steve or Mary will be me, and as Steve and Mary practice being me, I will continuously and further develop them as emerging leaders.”

“It seems risky,” George said. “What if they miss something by not listening or say the wrong thing?” 

Mark confidently replied, “They will listen more eagerly than I would, as I’ve been getting very bored with these meetings while they are eager to learn. I know it’s risky for me to say so, but that’s just the truth. As far as them saying the wrong thing, you don’t have to worry about any decisions being made without my supervision. In our regular updates and coaching, they are summarizing the input and I am confirming that the decisions they are suggesting are sound.”1 

“Why do we have to do this?” George said. “Why can’t we keep things as they were, with you attending the meetings that you so regularly attended?”

Sadly, Mark responded, “We can and we will if you say so. But then we will not grow; we will only stay the same.”

Then, with a new but respectful energy Mark declared, “If leaders like me take on growing by developing other leaders then the whole organization will expand in its capacity to make growth-oriented decisions.2 In other words, the more leaders we develop, the bigger and faster we can grow.”

Finally, George asked, “How is this ever going to work? How will you do this?”

“I can’t answer that in words now,” said Mark. “I promised to spend time with Steve and Mary to show them some of our new strategic plans and to go over some of the strategic decisions from the meetings they just covered yesterday on my behalf.3 I promise to let you know if there are any problems we are dealing with and together we will deal with them powerfully.”

Transitioning from Management to Leadership

A strong manager keeps his eye on logistics; a strong leader focuses on developing and coaching his rising leaders.3 Instead of taking tasks on and expecting team members to fill in the gaps, a leader works to intentionally coach team members to develop their strengths and grow in their abilities.

Putting this method of leadership into practice benefits both the business and the team members in several ways. 

Businesses that utilize a mentorship model of leadership are far more likely to retain their promising young talent. According to Forbes, only 14% of CEOs believe that they have the leaders they will need to drive success.2 Rather than trying to find leaders who have been trained elsewhere, who already possess the skills a company requires, it is beneficial for corporate leaders to train and coach rising talent within the company.

Allowing team leaders to take the time to coach their teams will most often result in a strong, diversified executive bench. A strong executive team is most likely to result in increased profits. In fact, companies that take the time to develop their rising talent are 4.2 times more likely to outperform their competitors that choose otherwise.2 It takes time, and it requires a CEO to allow leaders to spend their time in this manner, but the benefits are obvious.

However, coaching also benefits rising leaders. Today’s young talent tend to be highly motivated by purpose; if a CEO wishes to retain these employees, allowing them to be coached is key.4 Many of these young leaders crave an environment that acknowledges and values their abilities and potential (raw as they may be); this environment must be intentionally developed and nurtured.

Directing dynamic people

  1. Encourage leadership at each level.
  2. Focus on team member strengths – have the right person in the right place, and then allow them to do what they do best
  3. It’s impossible to manage a team to success – they have to be willing to follow you there.

Developing leaders who are empowered to contribute to the company, who feel a sense of purpose in their job, are far more likely to stay long-term. In addition, when they are coached by an effective leader, they are more likely to develop and share innovative ideas for growth. In contrast, industries that have a high rate of failure share one key factor: they tend to put little to no focus on team development.2

Two facts are apparent: the corporate landscape is changing and executive priorities must change with it. Rather than relying on the “old school” method of assigning team members tasks, team leaders who put the time, effort, and care into truly coaching their teams will see a multitude of benefits.

Footnotes:

Gutierrez, Keith. 5 Inspiring Lessons in Leadership from Simon Sinek. ManageInbound.com, September 15, 2016. https://www.manageinbound.com/blog/lessons-in-leadership

Caprino, Kathy. “The Changing Face of Leadership: 10 New Research Findings All Leaders Need to Understand.” Forbes.com, February 28, 2018. https://www.forbes.com/sites/kathycaprino/2018/02/28/the-changing

Sostrin, Jesse. “To be a Great Leader, You Have to Learn How to Delegate Well.” Harvard Business Review, October 10, 2017. https://hbr.org/2017/10/to-be-a-great-leader-you-have-to-learn-how-to-delegate-well

Mooney, Michael. “Simon Sinek: The Secret to Leadership and Millennials is Simply Purpose.” Success.com, July 10, 2017. https://www.success.com/simon-sinek-the-secret-to-leadership-and-millennials-is-simply-purpose/

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jonathan Flaks
ICF Master Certified Coach
Executive Coach & Speaker

Jonathan Flaks is a pioneer in the executive coaching profession, causing transformative emotional breakthroughs, outstanding leadership results and outstanding career satisfaction in work/life balance since 1998. Smile!

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