How to support the transition from expert managers to full leadership potential – part 1
Lets look at the data – 53% of senior leaders expect new leaders to be performing with-in 6 months of their appointment and yet over 50% of high potential moves are perceived to end in failure and only 16% of leaders fully transition without additional support.
There are three dimensions needed to really support new leaders to reach a peak level of performance and buck the stats of 50% of hi-po moves perceived to end in failure and only 16% of leaders fully transitioning without support.
Dimension 1: Clarify the Leadership Attributes
Dimension 2: The Organisational Lens
Dimension 3: The Individual Lens
We will explore these 3 dimensions over the coming weeks starting with:
Dimension 1. Clarify the Leadership Attributes your organisation needs.
The first consideration is to ensure that the leadership attributes that your organisation needs for the future are clearly articulated. This goes beyond the normal Capability or Competency matrices that often exist and covers 3 aspects.
This involves separating the abilities needed for the ‘role’ they are in from the ‘leadership’ abilities that are needed to support the organisation’s high level purpose and context. Most likely this can be articulated in terms of technical ability for the role and behavioural abilities to really deliver as a leader.
Many role descriptions tend to focus on the abilities needed for the role itself. This is great in terms of bringing clarity to the role but can have the unintended consequence of limiting the individual’s viewpoint to focusing only on role delivery and not considering how they need to also be a leader to support the wider organisation.
Some of the leadership abilities will also be those needed to deliver in role however the important part of this is is to able to clearly articulate the leadership abilities that are needed and wanted to drive performance in the wider organisation.
These could include coaching skills, listening, influencing, decision making, motivating, engaging, developing a vision, etc; however the specific challenges and context your organisation is experiencing will impact on the relative priorities of developing these abilities. There may also be a conflict between what the organisation really needs and what it is perceived to value currently increasing the importance of clearly articulating the leadership abilities you expect your leaders to have.
This is about ensuring new leaders are able to use the leadership abilities they have developed in the right place, at the right time, with the right person to achieve the outcomes that are required. Most often sending people on training and workshops is the solution to this however, whilst this will likely help develop the leadership abilities needed, it will likely have limited long tem success in helping leaders develop their aptitude.
New leaders need ‘safe’ opportunities to test out their leadership abilities in the first instance and then need ongoing support to embed these abilities so they become part of their everyday leadership toolkit rather than abilities than need constant attention and effort to use – they need to become unconsciously competent in using their abilities.
Regular, timely feedback, great role models, mentoring, coaching are all longer term methods of creating the environment to develop aptitude and require modelling and driving throughout the organisation.
This is about ensuring your leaders are doing things for the right reasons and long term outcomes and is possibly the most difficult aspect. Most leadership development focuses on abilities and aptitude – having a variety of skills, knowledge and behaviours that can be used effectively in the right situations.
Developing attitude means working at the level of individual values and beliefs and finding alignment with the organisation’s enacted values and beliefs.
This requires, in the first instance, a clear organisational set of values and beliefs that are more than words on a wall. This is more difficult than it seems. More often than not organisations have values that, at worst, people simply don’t know or more likely, they know, but don’t believe, as the system does not truly work with the values.
To help people develop the right attitude the organisation has to be seen to value what it says it values from the top down. This involves have clear role models, seeing advancement of people who demonstrably live the values, demonstrably not valuing those who subvert or undermine the value for their own personal advancement or gain.
It also requires support to help individuals shift any personal underlying beliefs or values that might block their transition – helping people shift their self-image and drivers to find value in what is required of them going forward rather than being stuck in valuing only what has made them successful so far. This means having a great mentoring and coaching culture that helps individuals make the personal mindset shift.
It would be great to hear your thoughts on this and future articles and if you want more information contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org