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Can you be a leader or a manager if you’re not really a people person?

Lego Warrior

Learning the skills of management and leadership can be an elusive quest.

In every organisation I have ever worked with, people new to leadership roles have said to me, and with a degree of exasperation – “I haven’t had any management training, you know!” What they mean is, no one has ever told them how to cope with and respond to the welter of people related issues that abide in our workplaces.

Many of us get promoted because we have excellent technical ability in an area. Once in the longed for position of leadership, somehow we are supposed to just ‘know’ how to deal with tricky people issues: a member of staff who is having a hard time in their personal life and is underperforming as a result. Somehow we should have the magic formula for helping a talented but under confident person in our team reach their potential. Usually we fall back on whatever we have seen other people do in these situations, our teachers, our parents, our previous managers. And often, what we fall back on doesn’t fit what’s actually needed in the here and now.

Wouldn’t it be great if everyone who held a leadership position invested in developing their ability to listen to, question and develop others? I think it would revolutionise the workplace (if not our wider society) to be able to really listen, with head, heart and soul – to read the nuances and patterns that sit behind what sits on the surface.

For me, great leaders are those who have learned to develop those around them to be more self-managing, more resilient and find themselves and their organisations ahead of those trickier learning curves as a result.

In my work with organisations and individuals, I have seen the magic that can occur in a manager’s experience of managing others when they learn the skills and attitudes that characterise great coaching and mentoring. It doesn’t take much to take a significant first step in this journey. And the even better news is that it doesn’t take much to take the second and third steps either.

The trick is to recognise that it’s a lifelong journey – not something to master and finish through reading a book or attending a weekend workshop.

Talk to us about how you can take your first, second or third step. Find out more about Coaching and Mentoring with Head, Heart and Soul.