Think Like a Leader Not Like a Boss

Monday, July 1 2019

My 7-year-old grandson was playing Scribblenauts, a video game that creates a picture of the object you have correctly spelled. He was having trouble with a specific word; using an “O” instead of an “A” because, as he described, “sometimes an A sounds like an O.” We discussed how all the time, and, as he felt, hard work spent learning to read had paid off in the end. He used the analogy that when you open a garbage can sometimes a diamond comes out. An excellent example of reframed thinking.

Leaders learn to reframe their thinking about their “garbage can” situations and look at them as opportunities to work with individuals and help them to grow. Reframing, changing thinking, and looking at things from another perspective, is key to transitioning from being a boss to becoming a leader.

A significant part of a leader’s role is to develop people and create a team. Leaders are a member of the team, not just an overseer. Coaching individuals and creating an environment that encourages people to collaborate and focus on the desired results is key. Consider these questions and for each, rate your behaviour on a scale of 1 (low) to 10 (high).

  • How much do I trust and believe in my team?
  • Do I set a good example by focusing on my top priorities?
  • Are there any challenges that affect the team results that I have not addressed?
  • How well do the team members meet my expectations?
  • How well do I provide timely specific positive feedback to the team?
  • When things go wrong, is the focus on the people or my annoyance?
  • Are all team members being responsible and accountable for the results?
  • Am I living my core values?

If you can’t honestly score 9 or 10 for each item there is room for enhancement.

If you feel there is room for enhancement, reframe your thinking and focus on your team members. Consider what could be done differently, to help others to succeed. Ensure you are:

  • Setting clear expectations that others understand and can commit to. Expectations have to be clear to those who need to meet them, not just clear to you.
  • Effectively delegating.

Give your team a chance to grow and take responsibility.

  • Involve the team in decisions.

Take different perspectives into consideration, especially when it affects other’s work.

  • Provide feedback in a positive rather than a negative way
  • Spend time coaching and finding out how individuals are feeling.

Focus on the person, not just the functions they perform.

  • Communicate frequently and effectively. Especially WHY things are happening.

Strong leaders reframe their thinking and concentrate on developing individuals to obtain results. It takes time, patience and focus. It might seem like a lot of effort but when you get that diamond, it will all be worth it.