Join Sara Canaday for an in-depth discussion in this video Coaching story: Bob, part of Transitioning from Manager to Leader.
- In this section we looked at the value of expanding your perspective as a leader. Developing more strategic scope, thinking innovatively, and improving the quality of your decision-making. Not having these skills became a big hurdle for one of my clients named Bob. Bob had been a manager at a manufacturing company for six years. He had tremendous experience and industry knowledge, a great reputation, stellar performance reviews, but he couldn't figure out why he kept getting passed over for the director position.
That's when he reached out to me for some career coaching. He said, I feel like I'm doing all the right things. I'm staying up to date on my training and certifications, and my department is always being recognized for minimal down time and on-target results. So that's when I asked Bob to tell me what he did each day. He said, well, I spend time on the floor with my team, answer a lot of questions, work with vendors and repair technicians, and I go to some meetings. That prompted me to ask, okay, so what do you think directors do during the day? There was more than a touch of sarcasm in his response.
They spend hours reading stuff on their computers, maybe the newspaper, schmoozing at conferences, mostly lots and lots of meetings, he said. I began to wonder about the level of Bob's involvement in those meetings. He told me they were usually attended by other department managers, sometimes a few upper level executives. His role was to give a quick report on his team's progress and take note on what was happening in the other areas. I could tell by his description that the decision-makers probably viewed Bob as a doer, not a driver, and that was holding him back.
So I suggested, Bob, you can position yourself as somebody who is ready for the next level. You can speak up more, showcase how much you know about the industry, maybe share some insights or innovative ideas, or you could just point out the implications of what you're discussing. Bob needed to show that he could think like a leader, and that would mean being prepared to participate in discussions beyond reporting on his own team's contributions. That sounds good, he said, so what do I do to get started? So I told him, one way is to resist saying yes to projects that relate only to your technical or functional skills.
Look for opportunities to shine a different light on your capabilities. Focus on highlighting your strategic side. That will give you more visibility. I knew that Bob had all of the tools he needed to make the changes, and I was confident that the cumulative effect would send a clear signal to upper management. Over the next six months, he elevated his participation in meetings, he began to voice his opinions, and talk about what he saw were the cycles in the industry. He moved from a doer to a driver, from a manager to a leader, and he finally did get that promotion.
- Looking and sounding like a leader
- Increasing your emotional intelligence
- Becoming a thought leader
- Expanding your strategic scope
- Viewing challenges with a fresh lens
- Improving your decision-making skills
- Cultivating conditions for team success
- Building meaningful connections