In business, it’s a common observation. Good leaders may have little experience with the work their team is producing. A good drilling manager may or may not have been the best driller. A good sales manager may or may not have sold so well. And, of course, the reverse is often true. The best “do-ers” may not make the best leaders.
Here’s an interesting article from Six Disciplines, a coaching company I’ve connected with recently. It focuses on the common mistakes such newly installed leaders may make. My focus is always on the positive side of issues. I’ll explain a little of what can be done to avoid these mistakes.
First, generally, it’s often the case that these people show up brilliantly producing something. They’re very good at managing tasks and things. They may be good salespeople, so they work well with prospects, customers and clients. They likely have little or no experience leading others to do what they’re good at. Leading people effectively is very different from managing things and tasks. These people are good at leading themselves, managing their time and tasks to produce what they’re expert at.
The four issues identified in this article which may need more attention than these new leaders give them are:
- Under-performance – Here, a team-member is doing less than his or her share of work, Often he or she develops a pattern of lack of engagement. Expert coaching and counseling are likely necessary. Addressing the issue promptly and directly, before it becomes a morale issue for others, is important.
- Over-performance – A “rock star” may begin to develop his or her own “empire” within the organization. Everyone must be an integral part of the whole team. If someone is standing apart, he or she must be brought back “into the fold”. Again this takes expert coaching.
- Passive-aggressive behavior – This is one of many forms of non-cooperation. It too must be addressed with good leadership skills. If this continues, it will destroy trust among the team members. That’s a serious morale and performance issue.
- Conflict avoidance – Some people tend to “go along to get along”. They can become non-functional or low-functioning team members. Letting others “run over them” or control their behavior compromises their individuality. Good team members are self-confident individuals who cooperate in a team effort. Again, strong leadership skills are called for to help such people join in, in a healthy way.
So…is the high performer on your team a good leadership candidate? Some are. Some aren’t. Perhaps some education/training is in order. The skills a leader needs are completely different from those that made this person a high-performing “do-er”.