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swanning into leadership

Recently you were promoted, and part of the prize was being asked to manage a team. It’s not been easy, but you have arrived. When you wake up each day, you know it’s possible to go to work, connect with your team and get things done. Yet you have a gnawing feeling inside you there is more. More to learn, more on this transition to not just becoming a manager but a leader too. It’s time to replace those manager cygnet feathers and become a fully fledged leader swan!

To make that shift to being a leader you are starting to wonder:

(a)    What the difference between a manager and leader is for you

(b)    What precisely you need to do to make the change; and – surprise –

(c)     If this leadership stuff might be a challenge, interesting and even something to enjoy!

When I think about the hundreds of people I have helped to make the shift into leadership, this is what I remember the most:

The exquisite moment when I see the person “getting it”. When their eyes widen, their entire bodies relax, and their voices change. The “aha” moment when someone understands that becoming a leader is not about what you know but about how you see things – it’s your perception.

Becoming a leader starts with a change in your perception.

It’s about how you learn to:

(a)    Focus on direction.

It’s not about task or activity. It’s not about operational targets. You prioritise and communicate purpose, direction and achievement of the goal.

(b)    Work with emotion.

Leaders make it OK for us to talk about what we both think and feel. Developing Emotional Intelligence is key. You build relationships to deliver results.

(c)     Motivate the team.

Without learning how to excite, enthuse and engage your team, delegation is a chore. Synergy and exceeding customer expectation comes from the team.

These things are key. Swanning into leadership is about moving forward, relationships and achieving together. It’s not about daily targets and treating people as “task deliverers on legs”.

This the heart of the matter.

What is your experience? Do you agree? What have I missed?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you would like to discuss this more, get in touch.

I’d love to help you and your team shift from a management focus and grow as leaders, whatever the challenge in hand.

If you would like to meet Gill for a coffee, to explore how she could contribute to your organisation’s leadership ambitions, from paying careful attention to the right leadership training solution for you, contact her here.

Here is what some previous clients say about the quality and range of leadership training available from Gill How:

Amiante STR Limited – ILM Level 5 Certificate in Leadership and Management:

University of East London

“I was most impressed by the ILM Level 3 in Leadership and Management course run by Buonacorsi. The presentation was balanced between being informal, authoritative and highly personable; both Gill and her colleague Jane delivered the voluminous subject in bite-sized chunks. I found the course highly relevant to my job and felt empowered and more able to interpret and read both my immediate and larger-picture work environment, making light of what previously I may have found confusing or daunting.”
Mark Jankó RIB MSc Env.Eng
Project Manager

SparkSync Growing Your Leadership Edge Course:

Hi Gill How,

Thanks for these blog posts, its always educative. The training I got from you is doing wonders in my career. Please keep me up dated.

Kind Regards,

Ben Tukwasibwe

Head Finance, Aponye (U) Ltd, P.O Box 24765 Kampala


Gill How

Helping leaders grow, step up and deliver outstanding results

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