For any new leader navigating the choppy waters of people and project management, times can get a little turbulent.
While you probably know it’s normal to feel overwhelmed some days (because it is! It’s so normal!), the more intel you have to hand, the better, right?
That’s why we’re kicking on with our new New leaders series.
In our last blog, we talked about the 5 things you should know as a new leader.
Today, we’re taking a deep dive into leadership and management – how it works, and why your ability to listen, learn and love yourself matters!
The right nav
Sitting at the helm is leadership expert, Jon Osborne. He spends his days coaching leaders at all levels and helping guide them through the ups and downs of leadership.
In our first chat with Jon, we covered leadership and management: the difference between the two, how you should approach it, what your role actually is these days and the trick to mastering it.
What is management?
It’s a good place to start. Because at the end of the day, you’re part of a team. And managing that team is about coordinating with others to reach a goal. Be those specific project goals or more general KPIs, your ability as a new leader to coordinate your team is the foundation on which you’re going to build your management skills.
It’s about getting the most from every person to get to the finish line – no matter what’s thrown your way.
And it’s important, insists Jon.
“If [people] don’t build a foundation of management first, then…they cannot produce the outcomes that people were hoping for.”
Take it from the expert: without that solid grounding in management, it becomes harder to develop leadership skills down the road.
The role of leaders
You’re a new leader. Yet, somehow you think you should suddenly know everything about, well, everything.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
As leaders, we’re learners. As HUMANS, we’re learners, so why would that change once you step into the realm of leadership?
“It’s more like a performance art rather than a skillset, tool set or knowledge,” Jon tells us. “And so often when we think about developing competence, we talk about knowledge. You can know as much about leadership as you like, but…how you respond in the moment is not about how much training you’ve done. It’s whether you can embody the kind of response that’s required in situations.”
Your role in leadership isn’t about turning into an oracle. It’s about inspiring trust, delivering on a strategy and getting the most out of people. And being open to learning will elevate you from average to amazing.
Doing vs being in leadership
Doing leadership? Of course.
Being in leadership? Another yes.
Both these components make you a good leader. But it’s how you split them, says Jon, that makes the difference between good and great.
“My experience is that if we’ve spent 80% of our time and energy on being, then most of the doing looks after itself,” he says.
In other words, if you can learn what to observe (that’s the being part) about your team, organisation or project, you can make the appropriate moves (the doing bit)
Watch. Listen. Consider. Move.
Whether anyone ever truly masters leadership is up for debate. And there’s something to be said for maintaining a beginner’s mindset – even when you’ve been in the game a while.
Nonetheless, Jon recommends new leaders focus on these 3 elements:
- Become an active listener
Effective leaders listen for possibilities, not problems. And they know their role is to learn what’s actually going on for someone – not to necessarily solve a problem.
- Work on relationships and results
Connecting with people is paramount to understanding them – and getting the most from them. Equally, it’s up to you to lead your team towards the goal posts. Your job as a leader is to get the task done – while still maintaining relationships. We never said it was easy!
- Don’t beat yourself up
You won’t get it right every time. No one does. The important thing is not to confuse ‘there are things I don’t know’ with ‘I’m a failure’. Of course you don’t know it all! Know what you need to work on (and ask for help), but don’t let it derail you.
As Jon says, “If someone’s been promoted to a position of leadership, [that means] someone else saw leadership qualities in them.”
Back yourself and others will, too.
New leadership, management and you
There’s no one right way to lead. After all, every person, team and organisation is different. Your role as a leader is to pull out all the good bits, manage the hard and bring everyone along for the journey.
Your leadership experience is uniquely yours to embrace, explore and enjoy – and these podcasts are a great place to start.
Tune into our podcast and discover even more leadership wisdom.
Keep learning, keep listening and keep leading!