Think of the next step of your leadership career like a rubber band.
One end is where you are now. The other end is the next level for you. Whether that’s being more of an individual contributor, whether it’s being a middle manager, a senior manager, or an executive… THE NEXT STEP in your career.
If you push too hard on this end to get to where you want to get to, without building the skills can you see how that creates more tension? That eventually the rubber band could snap?
I’m going to give you a way of making the next leadership jump that you want to make without snapping the rubber band.
When you want to take a jump as a leader and perform at the next level, you can do it the smart way, the right way, which will lead to you making a sustainable jump where you’ll nail it at the next level, or you can do it the wrong way where you take the jump and you’re not really ready and you won’t perform and ultimately you’ll be found out.
I want to teach you the right way. The right way to make that jump.
This came from when I was coaching at a future leader program with a really large logistics company, working with their next fifteen future leaders who are on the succession path to being the leaders of the business.
I was talking to them about how to prepare themselves for it. That’s where this framework and the idea of the rubber band comes from. I was saying to them “Alright, write down where you are right now. Your reality as a leader: the scope of your role, who you look after, what your strengths are. Now write down what your vision is, your ultimate vision.” What people typically do to make the jump is they try and stretch themselves so far by pushing themselves harder at their goal. Say they want to take the next jump up, they try and do MORE of what they already know. They try and do MORE. Just push harder, deliver more results, do MORE of what I do well. What that does is just stretch the rubber band to the point where you’re stretched so thinly that the people above you don’t actually perceive the value that you add because you’re not delivering the things that are important. You haven’t actually shifted anything, you’re still operating the same way.
On the other end (of the rubber band) you need to change what you’re doing in the present moment by shifting your reality. There are two ways you can do this.
The most powerful way is by changing your thinking about what your role is about and what the purpose of your role is and also by changing your skills. That’s the role of a coach, that’s the role that coaching and leadership development plays in enabling you to change that. So that you can shift the way that you perform in your reality which will ultimately help you to achieve your vision and your goal.
So many leaders push hard at what they’re doing which is a reflexive response. They just immediately do what is their habit and they don’t reflect enough about the way they think and the skills they have to enable them to get to their goal.
Two particular ways I help people that I work with is that I look at and help them shift their mindset as leaders, and the assumptions that they make about their role, about their customer, about their staff and saying “Is that true?” and “How do you need to think about those three things to achieve your goal?” The second is looking at their intent. So many people get what I call “Backstage-itis” where they’re so focussed on what goes on behind the scenes and not on their customer, their products, and their service level quality and the way those things fit together to add value to the business. They’re the things, if you have an INTENT around those things, that will often position you for that next level in the business.
There’s a right way and a wrong way to make leadership jumps. The right way is around shifting your thinking and your skills to prepare yourself for that next level so that when you make the jump it’s sustainable. The wrong way is pushing harder at what you’re already doing well. If you can make those shifts in thinking, make those shifts in skills before you move up to the next level, when you get there you’re going to nail it.
When you make a shift as a leader what I want you to think about is: How do you want to make that shift? Leave me a comment below: From watching this video, what is it that you need to do next to prepare yourself to make that career/leadership jump from the level you’re at to the level you want to get to?
As always, if you want to chat to me about how I can help with groups of your leaders send me a message and let me know.
Talk soon. Cheers.