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How To Equip First Time Leaders in Your Company
Jay: And so if you’re thinking about this from a cultural perspective where you’re thinking about it from a training perspective, where do we invest in learning and skill development for leaders? Those two moments is the first time you become a leader and the first time you become a leader of leaders. And so the change is important because when you become a leader for the first time, your skillset and your time allocation have to shift. So your skill set shifts because you are now responsible for the careers of other people and you have to be a good steward of those careers. And for most people who become a leader for the first time. If they think back over their own career that got them to that point. Their sum total of leadership training is looking at the managers that they’ve had.
Jay: So they have almost certainly had a lot of bad managers, and so they’ve learned lots of things that they shouldn’t do because they know how frustrating that is when your manager does that. But the problem is they probably haven’t had very many good managers. So, you know, the kind of dark side of the force, but you don’t know the light side of the force and you don’t know what to do in that light side to be a good manager. And so that’s why as an organization it’s important to invest in how we equip our first-time leaders with the skills and understanding of what good leadership looks like, not just what not to do.
Jay: The other thing that shifts, though, as I said, is time allocation. You go from being an individual contributor to a leader and suddenly you have to carve time out of your schedule for the people on your team. And that’s important because if the culture of the organization is right, your success is now the success of your team. It’s no longer your individual success. So now you have to think about how do I enable my team to be successful because that’s how I’m going to continue to move up in the organization? It’s no longer just I can work more hours or put more effort in or take on some amazing new project. So that’s a shift. What happens when you become a leader of leaders is almost a step change in how you have to think about the business. And the expression we think about a lot at that point is going from being in the business to being on the business.
Jay: So the difference is that as a leader of leaders, I’m now a full step away from where the actual decisions are getting made. And so if people come to me as CEO of our organization and they say, ‘Hey, we have a problem, what should we do?’ To be honest, I have no idea what we should do because I’m not close to the problem generally enough to know the right answer. And the truth is our team knows the right answer. So they’re not really looking for me to tell them what to do. They’re looking for some guidance about which path is probably the right path. So I’m not ‘in’ the business anymore, but I’m ‘on’ the business. But when it comes to day-to-day operations, I have to allow my team that autonomy and step out of their way enough to say, ‘I’m not the right person to make this decision. You are.’ So what do you think we should do? And if you’re stuck and you need me to break a tie, that’s where I can get involved.
Jay: And so I think there’s some really great coaching around this question of tie-breaking and thinking as a leader that your number one job in the day-to-day of the business is really breaking ties. It’s being that final voice that says, okay, you know what, I have heard you out and we’re going with a that’s a big part of that job, but that requires you to step out enough and be on, not in, so that you can be that kind of impartial judge and be able to make those tie-breaking decisions when they come up.