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The leadership trap

Updated: Apr 28, 2020

For most people, being given a promotion to a team leader at work is exciting, rewarding and brings with it a sense of achievement and accomplishment.


Those newly appointed bosses feel that we’ve been rewarded for the effort and technical expertise they’ve displayed in their roles since joining the company.

Fast forward 3-6 months and many of these rookie bosses will say the feelings of excitement and enthusiasm are now replaced with fatigue, self doubt and frustration as you begin to work longer hours trying tirelessly to achieve the outcomes expected by you and your team.

I am sure there are a few of you who can relate to this? It’s an all too common problem, and the reason behind it is simple – it reflects a lack of strategic focus on leadership succession planning and leadership development.

How does the promotion process occur in your workplace? Typically promotion criteria is fundamentally linked to one’s technical competency. For example, the best or hardest working salesman becomes the sales manager.

However, I ask you this… Are the skills required to lead and manage a team the same skills required to sell a product? No, they are very different. Leading and managing requires a fundamental understanding of how to motivate, communicate and coach people, none of which is taught to people in their previous “business as usual” technical roles.

Without prior training, as a newly appointed team leader/manager you may be operating with very little awareness of critical leadership fundamentals such as coaching people, inspiring people and effective delegation.

So what happens if we lack an awareness of the key leadership skills? We default to what got us promoted in the first place and if we’re unable to engage our people to step up and achieve the results, we’ve step in and work harder than ever to get the outcome by micromanaging tasks and projects.

There is however a massive downside to micromanagement that presents as follows:

  1. It tends to demotivate team members who feel the boss is “snoopervising” and doesn’t trust them. This creates lack of job fulfilment in the team members

  2. It places extra workload on the boss who becomes fatigues and stressed as he/she strives to get the expected outcomes. This creates lack of fulfilment for the boss  

So what is the solution to all of this and how do we ensure our leadership promotion is a successful transition for all involved?

The solution is FOCUS!

If, as a boss, you aren’t focused on learning the core leadership fundamentals of coaching, inspiring and growing your people, you’ll quickly get sucked down into the management vacuum which is very different to escape.

Where’s your focus and in what ways are you upskilling as a leader? It’s time to be proactive in educating and learning the vital tools needed to coach, inspire, lead and motivate your people!


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