By Elizabeth Lions
The transition from individual contributor to leader can be the most challenging and rewarding part of an employee’s career. However, there are some steps to take in order to ensure success as you grow into your leadership position. There is a vast difference between leading and managing people. Managers are task focused while leaders determine the vision, goals and objectives needed while creating and engaging environment so that the team can grow and thrive.
Nothing is more flattering than a promotion into a leadership role. It is recognition of your hard work, that you know your job well, and that the executives who promoted you believe you have leadership skills.
So why is it difficult for some to move from an individual contributor to a leader?
Leaders are chosen and appointed – and moving into a leadership position may bring forward new emotions. Whereas once only your performance mattered, now what matters is your team. Leaders can only be as successful as the team they lead. That takes deep trust and the ability to step out and allow team members to do their jobs – knowing that mistakes can happen.
Join us for an upcoming webinar with speaker Elizabeth Lions in the SWE Advance Learning Center.
Moving from Individual Contributor to Leader
June 10, 2016 12:00 PM Eastern
11:00 AM Central, 10:00 AM Mountain, 9:00 AM Pacific
Managers are often chosen by organizations due to their expertise. However, these same managers often lack soft skills such as people skills, relationship building skills and trust. While being technically sound is important – and even critical to their role – it isn’t the entire picture.
Strong individual contributors can long for the good old days before becoming a manager, because they feel out of control, and unable to produce a result. Instead of producing work product themselves, they report on the productivity of others. This quantum leap can make ‘do-er’ types feel out of sort. The focus is no longer on them. It’s about the team.
Moving into leadership is about sharing, as odd as that may sound. It’s about knowing that you are only as good as your team, and knowing how to develop them.
In the 70s and 80s managers (now called leaders) were groomed for years prior to taking an executive position – with good reason. It allowed the incumbent to understand that people run a business, not just a product or process.
Here are some sobering stats:
Center for Creative Leadership conducted a study and found that nearly 40 percent of new chief executives fail outright within their first 18 months on the job, and even more of them fail to live up to the expectations of those who hired them.
In my own career, I’ve had to secretly recruit a replacement for the leader that was about to be ousted. This is sticky business. Knowing why they failed, watching them in action, and being unable to stop it.
It would have all been prevented if the leader had asked themselves one simple question.
Why do I want to be the boss?
Is it because you think you can do the job better?
Is it about control?
Carefully looking at why you want to be a leader prior to entering a position is critical for your success.
It takes a brave person to question their real motivations.
Elizabeth Lions is the author of two business books entitled “Recession Proof Yourself” and ” I Quit! Working For You Isn’t Working For Me” with a third book on the way on leadership. She is an author, coach and speaker for some of the largest high tech companies in the United States. She also has the privilege of teaching and developing leaders in the Middle East and Europe.
For more information please visit www.elizabethlions.com