Who gets promoted at your company? Who are your managers and what kind of performance did they demonstrate to earn their positions? Who deserves to have people “under them”?
People who are exceptional at getting things done, through their own direct effort, are often the first to earn promotions. As they begin to supervise, manage, and ultimately lead people in their organizations they soon learn:
What got you here won’t get you there.
In other words, the skills an excellent individual possesses are just the beginning of what it takes to be even an adequate manager and leader. Instead of promoting our best “doers” we need to ask:
Are you interested in learning how to achieve results indirectly—through other people?
The answer to this question must be a resounding, “yes.” Effective managers and leaders must first possess the desire to multiply their impact beyond what they were able to accomplish on their own. If they don’t want to make a greater impact, they will never acquire the necessary skills to lead and manage. They will simply set about doing their new job just like they did their old one, which often creates a confusing mash up of power and influence instead of entire groups of people working to create something greater than themselves.
As owners, leaders, and executives we also have to ask ourselves a question:
Are we ready to present the newly promoted with the knowledge and training to help them build the skills they’ll need to make the transition from super achiever to supervisor, manager, and future leader?
If our answer is yes, then here is what I believe is the underpinning of everything to do with mobilizing a group who wants to multiply its impact beyond what any one individual could achieve alone.
Inspire. As leaders our job is to inspire our team with a desirable future outcome. A vivid description that inspires our team to pool our individual efforts for the benefit of our customers, ourselves, our company—and even society—is our first task.
Buy-in. Once we paint a vision of the destination, our next objective is to earn the buy-in of each team member. Admittedly, this can be a detailed and, perhaps, messy step but it’s critical to get everyone “on board.” Sometimes that means some give-and-take or for some members to suspend their disbelief for a while.
Share. At this point average leaders will emphasize “how” they suggest “what” the team should do to get started. Some, falling back on their old skills as an individual doer, will even try to detail every step of the way. To be sure, we leaders have good ideas, but if we did our jobs correctly in hiring the people on our teams, what we need to share with our people is “why” we are setting about a task and then let them take on the “how’s” and the “what’s.” After all, that’s why we hired them, yes?
Own. The holy grail of mobilizing a group is when our teams move beyond buy-in and take an ownership position in our vision. That doesn’t mean mutiny or coopting our vision. It means their commitment to our vision is as strong as our own. It can be scary when someone else owns “your idea” with you but it’s well worth the emotional risk. Rest assured that’s what it takes to multiply your impact.