How People Find Themselves in Leadership Positions

Directors Mark Soanes and Geraint Lewis in suits with a laptop with a scenic background of the Brecon BeaconsAfter recent sessions with clients, I’ve been reflecting on why people find themselves in leadership positions. I’ve related to this our own experience here at Call of the Wild. I think our experience is common to many others in that a business idea was discussed and a new business born. This became a start up micro-business where the focus was on sales, marketing, pricing and honing the service offer to ensure the business is sustainable beyond its first year, sustainable and scalable thereafter. You start with 1 employee (you) and much goodwill on the part of others.

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The Crossing of the Rubicon: Transitioning to Leadership Positions

There is little, if any, thought given to what happens when the business grows to the point where you need to employ others- the crossing of the rubicon! This is where the skills, knowledge and behaviours that got you to that position suddenly take on less importance. You now need skills in the relationship and inter-personal domain. You need the ability to motivate, delegate, inspire – you need to become a leader.

Many just muddle through and hope for the best. This is not necessarily the most logical approach given the amount of sweat, tears, effort and sheer graft you’ve put in to reach this point in your business development. If you’re lucky enough to continue to grow the business, which might have taken longer with greater risk due to the lack of leadership development, you get to a point where you need others to step up to the plate to manage an ever-growing staff compliment. Now this is where we commonly see the same problem recurring. How are those individuals chosen? You look around and choose the most technically competent individual to become that manager. Why – because they’re good at their job!

Choosing Leaders: Beyond Technical Competence

Sound familiar? If you’d like our advice (but please feel free to ignore this at your leisure!) there are a number of reasons not to adopt this approach. Firstly, you may be promoting people into positions they don’t want to be promoted to. They might be perfectly happy to become the best they can possibly be in their current role. This is fine and should be supported. Secondly, you’re promoting people because of their technical skills which will not necessarily be as relevant in their new leadership role. In this role a new set of skills will be needed to augment technical competence and work experience. The focus will be on people management, communication, motivation, coaching, having difficult conversations, building teams and so on.

How People Find Themselves in Leadership Positions - group of people cheering by a waterfall in the

This is where the need for training in the form of leadership development comes into its own. It is fundamental to any successful business that appropriate training and development is put in place. You need to equip those in leadership roles with the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to advance their careers and help the business achieve its objectives. Exemplary leadership can be the difference between outstanding business performance and abject failure. An exceptional leader will guide a business to success by inspiring and motivating others. They develop a culture and a compelling vision whilst be being the catalyst for change and the driving force behind innovation.

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If these points resonate with you then take a look at 2-Day Leadership Development Programme, as a great starting point or get in touch for a bespoke programme designed specifically for you.

Please note that EI rather than AI was used in the writing of this piece. However, some would say I was always robotic in my thought processes!

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