Have you ever seen an opening at a company for leadership positions? I’ve seen openings for a supervisor, manager, director, etc. but never an opening for a leader. Even in sports, there are openings for a wide range of coaches from a position coach to the head coach. But once again, I’ve never heard of a leadership coach. Yet, there is so much emphasis on leadership. That’s because leadership is a trait they are looking for in the person and not an actual position.
I am the process of writing a book regarding the stepping stones of leadership based on my 30+ years of experience in many management positions. I have a person editing my writings and one thing she brought up to me several times is if I am writing a chapter on actually teaching a novice leader the very basics of leadership. Things that are basic to every good leader but have to be learned by the novice leader. That question brings up a very interesting problem.
I believe a lot of companies place people in a supervisory role with little to no training. Many of them step into this position and are very authoritative. They want to meet the objectives of the position and delegate the work. Since they are so new to the situation, they really don’t understand the power of teamwork. And if they did, I’m not sure they know how to proceed.
I have seen scenarios where a new manager comes in and utilizes their authority to place people they don’t care about on a job they know the person dislikes. For example, a person does an excellent job getting product ready for the store but struggles at the cash register. However, every time the manager is on duty, they placed that person on the cash register.
I believe before a person is promoted to a supervisory position, two things need to happen. First, and most important the candidate should take a questionnaire similar to one given when someone is applying for a job. So many online applications nowadays require the applicant to fill out a questionnaire to find out their attributes. Do they have the right traits to lead and supervise?
Secondly, it is my belief that a new supervisor needs to learn the basics of leadership. A brochure listing the attributes of sound leadership. And the number one trait is TRUST. Without trust, the other attributes are less effective. Here are a few differences between:
Relies on authority Relies on Goodwill
Issues ultimatums Generates enthusiasm
Uses People Develops people
My way is the only way Strength in unity