Filling the Leadership Void

In a story by John Eccleston in Personnel Today, he cites research from The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development revealing there is a “reality gap” between how good managers think they are in their roles and how effective they actually are.

The research reveals that three-quarters of employees report a lack of leadership and management skills, and believe that too many managers have an inflated opinion of their management abilities. The research highlighted contrasts between how managers said they manage their people and the views of their employees.

Six in 10 said they meet each person they manage at least twice a month to talk about their workload, meeting objectives and other work-related issues. However, just 24 percent of employees say they meet their managers with such frequency. In addition, more than 90 percent of managers said they sometimes or always coach the people they manage, but only 40 percent of employees agreed.

The glaring disparity between what managers believe they are doing versus what employee’s say they are is revealing. When asked about the disproportion, Ben Willmott, head of public policy at CIPD said, “Too many employees are promoted into people management roles because they have good technical skills, then receive inadequate training and have little idea how their behavior impacts others.” And he is right. So what steps can be taken to bridge the gap between the necessity of good management and strong leadership? Here are three tips.

Focus on relationships. Whether you are in management in your office or in another form of leadership within your organization -- relationships are critical. Relationships are the gateway to successful coaching, mentoring, and staff development.

The mechanics of office management are what they are and can be mundane, but good relationships are the key to team development. Get out from behind the desk and get to know your people.

Grow leaders. At the end of the day, it’s leadership that matters. Want to be a good manager? Grow as a leader. Want to be the best salesperson? Grow as a leader. The secret to your success and that of your organization is found in leadership development.

John Maxwell says, “Everything rises and falls on leadership” He’s right. The day you discover the secret of leadership is the day every other dimension of your organization begins to improve. How are you developing the leadership skills of your people?

Be intentional. Think of all of the required components of the operation of your organization. Careful thought and planning goes into goal setting, staffing and payroll, taxes, budgets, etc., but how much time and emphasis is placed on leadership development? John D. Rockefeller said, “Good leadership consists of showing average people how to do the work of superior people.”

An average manager becomes superior when shown a better way; the same for average employees. In what ways are you being intentional in the development of your team?

By no means is this an exhaustive list of steps that can be taken, but it’s a start. We do know this-- there is a gap between management skills and strong leadership and the gap between the two is taking a toll. It’s time to fill the leadership void.

© 2012 Doug Dickerson Doug Dickerson is a nationally recognized leadership writer and speaker. He is the author of the new book, Great Leaders Wanted! Visit www.dougsmanagementmoment.blogspot.com for more information. Follow Doug on Twitter @managemntmoment

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