Throughout my years in both law enforcement and business, I have encountered people who were fixated on titles and status. Their goals weren’t based on developing others or challenging themselves to learn and grow professionally. Instead, they were based on what title was listed after their name, maybe their new paycheck, or maybe that bigger office (remember the days of offices?).
Then, when “their day” finally arrived and they obtained the title they had been longing for, they simultaneously seemed to obtain a new personality. All of the sudden they thought they should know more than those they were supervising (their equals only a day before), and felt they needed to have all of the correct answers and best ideas.
You got Promoted … Now You have All the Answers?
If you have seen this attitude adjustment in others, you know how frustrating it can be. You also probably know it is often followed by lower morale throughout the team. You may have even seen how it is a recipe for disaster going forward. A leader who believes he or she has all the answers, is in fact, not a leader at all … well, other than in their title, that is. The reason? More often than not, they soon won’t have anyone to lead at all.
Being a leader does not automatically increase your IQ. Titles do not come with handbooks listing all the answers and best solutions to every problem. And anyone who thinks otherwise will be sorely disappointed. They may start guessing at something they honestly may not know or fully understand because they are more concerned with pretenses than authenticity.
A Better Way to Lead our Teams
While a new title and promotion do not provide the answers, they do provide an opportunity for us to lead, guide, and utilize the team to accomplish a mission or execute a plan with optimal results. Leadership is never a one-man/one-woman show. When you are leading your team, it’s important to consider each team member’s knowledge and experience, and continue to collaborate with them.
More often than we may think, people find themselves starting over. You could have a highly experienced team member who is an expert at marketing. Maybe he or she had been laid off before and took a job they were overqualified for just to make ends meet. If you don’t have this information and then try to teach or discuss basic marketing concepts to this person, he or she will instantly lose confidence, and morale may be damaged. This doesn’t mean you should coddle every employee. Instead, it means a good leader should know his or her team’s experience, knowledge, strengths, and history/experience.
For example, I recently accepted a corporate job where I would be leading others. The first thing I did when I came in was to take the time to meet with each of my direct-reports and then all of their team members. I learned about them, their families, their dreams, goals, experiences, and education. This was key information for me to continue to build and develop the team for future growth.
Tips to Lead Effectively After that Promotion
As leaders, we want to strive to be motivating, dependable, authentic, and empathetic, and never demeaning and condescending. This is the only path to teamwork. Here are some tips to help remind you what’s most important after you get that new title:
· Celebrate – your hard work is being noticed!
· Don’t assume you have all the answers.
· Make a concerted effort to learn more about those who work on your team. Find out about their backgrounds, their experiences, and how they landed in the positions they’re in.
· Identify each team members’ strengths and weaknesses, including your own.
· Collaborate with the team, ask questions, and allow them to be a part of the decisions, where appropriate.
· Challenge the team to use their knowledge and skills to help accomplish the company’s goals.
Being a leader is dynamic, fluid, and rewarding if you can make the right impact, guide your team members to the next level, and accomplish the best results through motivation. Remember, just because you’re driving the car, doesn’t mean you have all of the directions. The key is to focus more on those you lead, and the impact you can make in providing opportunities, and less on a title.
Until next time, please take C.A.R.E. of yourself and those around you in as many ways as possible.
For more information on this topic, visit One C.A.R.E. at a Time: Effective Leadership Through the Control of Emotions or www.teresameares.com