Managing and Leading are two different things
A first opportunity to step up to a company leader role usually presents to someone from the ranks of management. Even though managing and leading are two completely different roles, it is a logical step for any ambitious individual who has served their time in business.
Once a manager visualises leadership, they will want to know more about the best way to do the job. Subconsciously, they will be drawn to notice examples of leaders they have worked alongside most recently in their career. They might take a look outside of their immediate vicinity to survey other leaders in their wider world of work, before contemplating the models of great iconic leaders of the past.
Leadership is more about being than doing. It is stating the obvious, but those who have had the best opportunities to learn the art of leadership alongside a mentor tend to be better at it. Even so, wouldn’t it be good to go back in time for a glimpse at what the mentor was really like in their first leadership role? No one can be perfect first time around.
Information is easy to find. Mountains of books exist on the subject, with a plethora of new publications appearing annually. Digital subscriptions to gurus, social-media, renowned journals, networking events and courses are always available. Listening to every leader you meet through business clubs, colleges and institutes can bring the available material to life. For the more studious, academia is a serious and worthy option. For some top institutional appointments, a first degree may not be sufficient, with a robust track record of proven leadership success usually a prerequisite.
As that aspirational process evolves from passive interest to serious study, it will gain traction marking the beginning of a stimulating lifetime of research and skills acquisition. Doors to knowledge and new information spring open in unexpected places. Leadership comprises a large following attracted by this tantalising and enthralling subject.
Equally the experienced leader can suddenly face changing and unusual circumstances never seen before. Maybe they feel isolated at the top of an organisation, unable to share too much with their executive team or shareholders.
Or perhaps they come to recognise an aspect of their leadership in need of refreshment or improvement. As an experienced Non-Executive Director, Alan Dawson specialises in confidentially supporting those needs on an assignment or ad hoc basis to help leaders bring about the right outcome.
Whether you are an experienced leader, new to post or simply contemplating your first role, why not whet your appetite for coaching and take a closer look around the current leader(s) in your midst? Try to confirm three things about them, especially noticing their application of emotional intelligence.
It is an important key to great leadership, and ask yourself –
1. Do they portray voracious enthusiasm for a life-long-learning commitment to their profession?
2. How many leaders have they personally nurtured, developed and inspired along the way?
3. How do they stay ‘in touch’ and communicate with their people? Do they exhibit the right level of ^emotional intelligence? (^self-awareness, self-control, motivation, empathy and social skill)
Emotional intelligence is different from pre-qualification factors, like technical skill, presentation flair or specific market experience. It distinguishes great leaders from the others. It is the *sine qua non of leadership.(*an indispensable condition or qualification)
We all start life with a level of emotional intelligence. Hopefully, that develops through life experiences, education, culture, observation, persistence, experience, practice and given the chance, feedback from coaching.
Emotional intelligence is the bedrock of leadership; it increases with age. If it is ever suppressed, the rest will fall down like a pack of cards. People with high EI are self-aware and comfortable talking about their strengths and limitations. Constructive criticism is not a problem for them as their self-awareness manifests best as integrity, self-confidence and good personal self-control.
By their very presence, behaviour and appearance, great leaders demonstrate what is required, and only when they have to, they use words.
Leadership does change around the edges with the times a little, but being on show remains constant. For example, despite the modern penchant for a more relaxed approach to business attire, that does not mean scruffy for leaders. Even without the previously obligatory tie, the physical attributes are still important to those looking and watching your every move. It is a goldfish bowl existence.
Emotional intelligence is not the only subject in Alan Dawson’s leadership coaching portfolio. His personal inspiration is seeing people grow as a result of sheer enthusiasm and determination coupled with his immense proven leadership coaching curriculum.
Alan is a grounded and realistic coach. He draws upon his extensive study working alongside the best leaders in the world, followed by 20 years of robust personal award-winning leadership experience.