I am always amazed at how many companies will promote a person into a new leadership role without training or support. Having the title of supervisor, manager or director is very nice and the idea that the person is a leader even better, however, the sad reality is that the majority of organizations do very little to train their employees to become effective leaders. If they do receive training it is often not focused on leading and the people skills needed but on the technical side of their work.
I have been there. I was one of those people who held several leadership roles in a corporation and I never received any specific training focused on how to lead my team. I received lots of technical training but not even one day of actual leadership training. My goal was to figure out the most effective ways to motivate employees, build a strong team and create an environment that was based on knowledge and idea sharing and respect.
Doing what I valued, which was to treat others as I wanted to be treated and always maintain open lines of communication, seemed to be the answer. I never considered myself as “the manager” and separate from the team. I shared in the challenges and successes with them and we discussed situations openly as they arose. By reading self-improvement and leadership books I found new techniques and tips which were shared with the team. There was one day each week, which I looked forward to, where I scheduled time to work side by side with the team. From this I saw what they saw and experienced their successes and challenges. This led to opportunities for praise, feedback and coaching in moment. As a result we grew even closer.
Instinctively I knew that it was most important for my team to trust me and feel that I was there to coach, guide and support them. It was a collective effort. They were the experts in their work and it was my job to be sure that they had the correct tools and a supportive environment to carry out their tasks to the best of their ability. A large part of creating the right environment meant that I needed to be consistent in sharing information and in being available. By doing this, they felt supported. This allowed them to relax and be more creative. A direct result of this was exceptional performance, accolades and recognition from peers and internal and external customers. Trust developed between us, in both directions.
I led from the heart without knowing what I was doing and it was not until I began training to be a professional coach when I realized that I had been managing with a coaching approach. It was very successful and I urge anyone in a leadership role to consider putting the focus on their team. Put your people first and you too shall see amazing results.
Scott Masciarelli, PCC, BCC is a leadership coach and trainer and multilingual avid world traveler. He partners with executives and expatriates to support both their personal and professional leadership growth. Scott’s clients achieve success on their terms.