Cara (not her real name) is a super-star leader within her organization. She is introverted, hard-working and extremely achievement oriented. Cara is 32 years old. She has a lot of responsibility. She manages a team of 12 people, including seven virtual team members.
Cara is a participant in my Mastering Leadership Program. At a session several months ago, she told the group about the constant issues she has with her team. Most of her team members are new to the organization. Each person requires some development, yet Cara is struggling to find the time to work individually with them. She would like to spend more time coaching, but she is already swamped, trying to achieve her own deliverables. She would be delighted if her team was high performing, yet she struggles to deal with the conflict that constantly festers between a few team members.
Does Cara’s situation sound familiar?
I find that her issues are extremely common for many leaders.
Our world of work is filled with leaders who strive to do a great job, yet are constantly struggling.
I explained to Cara and her colleagues that there is good news. I explained to them that if they are feeling overwhelmed by the demands of their team, they are not alone. I then explained the origins of their overwhelm and frustration.
Essentially, most leaders get promoted into leadership positions without any leadership training. So, I assured them, it is not their fault if they are struggling.
We then talked about the way out of overwhelm. It is knowledge, education and developing a leadership toolkit. Included in this toolkit are the top three critical skills necessary for every leader to manage her/his team. Leaders must know how to:
- Effectively coach people to solve their own problems
- Develop the skills and abilities of their team
- Create a high performing and accountable team
Every leader must master these skills to perform really well.
Cara is now a graduate of my program. She is a totally different person today. She has blossomed. She still has the same introverted, focussed way of being, yet now she exudes a quiet confidence that is unstoppable.
I asked Cara what has changed for her over the past year.
She enthusiastically replied, “I now know some practical tools and strategies that I use with my team daily. Now that I know how to coach, I really enjoy it. My team is developing well and our performance has improved every quarter.”
Leadership is not rocket science. Anyone can learn to be a phenomenal leader. It takes time, patience and hard work. I love to watch the transformation of my clients over time.