I met with a leader this morning who was desperate for leadership development.
She had been a successful individual contributor in a professional services firm for over fifteen years. Then, the firm had gone through a series of acquisitions and had assigned her the role of office manager for a group of 20.
And she had never, ever, had formal or informal training on how to be a supervisor, a manager or a leader. No mentoring. No conferences. Nothing.
So…desperate. So desperate.
Several of the staff had complained to corporate about her. And so, she had committed to engage in leadership coaching.
Where to start? I asked her, and she asked herself, several questions:
- What does my staff need? How do I find out what they need?
- What do I need – to be clear and confident as a leader?
- What is leadership, anyway? How is that different from management and supervision?
- How do I handle being in middle management – with expectations from the staff and without clear support or resources from senior leadership?
- How do I show the staff that I’m on their side when they don’t feel or believe that I am?
What the leader needed to know was – well, several things, including:
- This is common – many people in positions of leadership have never, ever, had training to be a leader.
- With sustained effort and a clear focus on a short list of leadership development areas – that real difference can and will be experienced by her as the leader as well as by the staff.
- I, as her executive coaching would provide, listening, confidentiality, presence, support, resources and thinking partnership. Especially partnership in the journey to build skills, rebuild relationships on the staff, enhance confidence and build a team culture where “people look forward to coming to work” and know that “their manager is: committed to them; acting as their advocate with corporate; and creating genuine one to one relationships with them as an approachable leader”.
These are her goals – and I’m honored to help her achieve them. She’s committed to a year of intense work. And I thoroughly believe she will make a difference in her organization and become a different person and an effective leader who helps her team with real achievement.
Achievement driven by desperation.