manager August 20, 2016 No Comments

“The role of a leader is to be there for others, to understand others and support them.”

Hallelujah!!! I thank you… my job is done.

This was a key takeaway from one of the participants of a new manager workshop I ran in Thailand recently. And I would like to emphasise two words: new manager.

These guys had less than 2 years in a management role so they were young in their experience but they wowed me with their insight, their maturity, their willingness to see and appreciate others.

I have run senior leader programmes and been impressed with the ability to see the bigger picture, connect the dots for teams, be the ‘protector’ but I have been disappointed on occasion about where the focus is. The pattern in focus for some of these senior leaders is on themselves: their success, their goals, their network, their career.

When does the shift happen? When do we go from focusing on others to focusing on our selves?

I see it happen when the stakes become higher, the risk of failure is greater and the exposure has the potential to be career-damaging. We put our arms around everything, we want to control everything, doing it our way is the best way because it’s hard to trust others.

I have done this myself and on reflection all it has done is isolate me, frustrate me, limit the options and stifle my motivation.

The irony is, when the stakes are high we should be talking to others, gathering insights, spreading the risk, enlisting the support, trusting the team around us. We shouldn’t be shutting down and isolating ourselves. We need to prepare for this though: ‘trusting the team around us’ doesn’t happen overnight, we need strong relationships, we need to be vulnerable and open to advice.

So, the next time you wonder what your role is as a leader, no matter how big your team, how long you have been doing it or how broad your responsibilities are, remind yourself of this:

“The role of a leader is to be there for others, to understand others and support them.”

The sooner you start doing this, the more prepared you will be for when the stakes get higher.  And there’s a bunch of new managers in Thailand who I know will be more prepared than most!