Ok, Ok, I get it. I’m the Manager. WHAT DO I DO NOW?

Manager: Hi, I’ve wanted to lead my team effectively, to have that sweet high-performing team you’ve been talking about, so I’m looking for some guidance.

Me: Absolutely!  Let’s go.

Manager: That sounds great.  Are there any specific insights or strategies that you think would be especially helpful for me?

Me: How’s your trust-building and transparency within the team?

Manager: Sometimes, I think we’re each trying to outdo the other. Not a whole lot of trust going on.

Me: Do your employees feel they can trust you?

Manager: Hmmm…(sheepish look)

Me: You know, I came into a team once, and trust was at an all-time low within the team, and from that team to other groups, they had to closely cooperate with.  You come in as a cocky young manager, determined to make my mark and be the star.  Hahahaha!  I realised that I had to check my ego and be “The Force” that can’t be seen but enabled my teams to be Jedi (Sorry for the Star Wars metaphor).  For the first little while, I spent a lot of time demonstrating my commitment to them, learning about them, their giftings, and their professional capabilities.  (Boy, I wish I’d had a CliftonStrengths coach to help me!)  I defended them when I had to and protected them as much as I could to give them space to bond (kind of like a steel umbrella shielding them from the incoming hail).  In a shorter time than I thought possible, they became more engaged, motivated, and committed to their work.  And HAPPY!  I heard laughter and saw people interacting more together…less of the hunted look in their eyes.  It wasn’t easy due to some amazing, strong personalities (including my own!), and it was a constant commitment. Still, we really got into a flow state.  We started hitting our milestones and achieved a 50% increase in our performance rating.

Manager: Ok, I’m working on trust.  But I’m struggling a bit.  I have in my head how I think a leader should be, but I just keep missing the mark in reality.

Me: What’s your leadership style?

Manager:  I’m not sure.  How do I know?

Me: Are you aware of your raw talents? 

Manager: No.  I know that sounds dumb, but I really have a hard time articulating what I’m good at.

Me: Well, that’s a good place to start.  Let’s figure out what they are. CliftonStrengths is the best tool for that.  Then we can work to develop a leadership approach that both includes your strengths and is congruent with your values and personal and team goals.  Then we can also target ongoing learning and development opportunities, such as targeted reading, workshops, and conferences.  And, of course, we’ll continue to meet to troubleshoot and optimise along the way.

Manager: I like that.  I’m excited to start putting these strategies into practice and seeing how they can help me lead my team more effectively.

Me: You’re very welcome.  Remember, leadership is a continuous journey, and there is always more to learn and explore when it comes to effective leadership.  I can’t wait to see how you go.

About the Wayfinders' Blog

The Wayfinders’ Blog helps individuals, teams and organisations discover and develop their unique strengths. I provide valuable insights and practical tips to my audience empowering them to develop their talents into strengths and achieve their goals.

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