The first step in leading
You’ve just been promoted. You’ve obviously done well and got some runs on the board. You’ve got talent, charisma, and presence. Or maybe you are like me – pure hard graft.
But, now you’re in a position of leadership. You’re a manager. This means you have people reporting to you, or that you are now responsible for a territory of business (ie. An Account Manager). Either way, you are now a leader.
What is the first step? What is the critical thing you need to know? We immediately default to the numbers, the strategy, and the processes. These are all important. But they are only important to you and your boss. It’s a great way to turn the ‘people that matter’ off (beautifully explored by Liz Ryan, Forbes 2016).
Recently, I listened to an interview with Michael Vaughan, the Ex-English Cricket Captain on one of my favourite podcasts, The Howie Games. He described the experience of beating the best team in the world (Australia) to win the Ashes in 2005. An amazing story.
There was one message that stood out – the advice his dad gave him about leading. He said:
“If you’re going to be a leader, you need to know who you’re leading”
There is real genius in this. If you don’t know the people you are working with, how are you going to motivate and inspire them? How are you going to effectively perform together? How are you going to progress everyone’s business?
The key is to really get to know them. Not just be friendly. By seeking pure understanding of their wants, needs, aspirations, and abilities you’ll be able to make clean and clear decisions. You’ll be able to give effective directions. This is a base for building a cadence of cycles into your workflow that serves those around you in a devastatingly productive way.
A great way to start, don’t you think?
P.S. Seasoned Leaders – if you haven’t done this and you want to make your life easier, it is never too late to listen to Michael Vaughan’s Dad.