Leadership Is A Profession

Being called upon to lead teams is increasingly common in all organizations today. Yet success in leading teams does not happen by itself. Everyone knows that leading teams effectively does not happen over night.  Those who have been moved ‘up the ladder’ into managerial positions from being individual contributors or subject matter experts, often find themselves totally and completely unprepared for the job of leading others.  This is because they simply do not know how to do the job of leading.  And why should they?  Leading others is not the profession for which they have been educated or trained.

I often wonder about ‘leadership’ and the ways that organizations typically select their managers.  It appears that as a person excels in their own area of expertise they often become a candidate for moving up in the organization; and ‘up,’ generally means – management, which demands its own very specific skill set.

Would you hire a chemist to be a carpenter?

I believe we are not paying attention to the fact that leadership is a profession. It is not an add-on. It does not happen by promotion. It requires skill, discipline, training, understanding and commitment.

In a world in which leaders are increasingly required to engage and enroll others in work and align the workforce with the mission of their organization, the need to be aware, intentional, and strategic about how leaders communicate becomes crucial to achieving results and accomplishing goals.

To become an effective leader, an individual needs to be educated in the many ‘arts’ of leading people, including the arts of:

  • Creating Clarity
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Building Community,
  • And, from this foundation, the art of Getting to Results

Your Boss Is Human

What if you knew what your CEO has to “leave behind” in order to ”show up’” at work. Imagine if you knew what motivates your boss, what engages her/him, what concerns they have. What if you knew what makes your boss feel supported; or, what she really cares about; or what he actually needs?

If you knew more about these dimensions of your work colleagues, I am absolutely convinced that your work environment and your work experience would be enhanced and would expand in many different directions. I am sure that your own leadership journey would become more meaningful with more possibilities and opportunities for growth and learning.

I believe that the job of all leaders is to get to know those who surround them, including their own leaders.

On the one hand, this is very easy to do. It just requires asking questions: open-ended questions; questions for understanding and for knowing; questions that move conversations forward.

On the other hand, it can also be extremely challenging. Because, in order to really get to know those who surround you at work, including your bosses, you MUST WANT TO. You must actually want to get to know your bosses and your leaders and your colleagues and your staff. If you truly do not care to know about others, faking it won’t work. In all that you do in building relationships, it is essential to be authentic.

So, do you want to get to know your boss, your colleague, your staff? If you do, what are you doing to make it happen?