Follow the leader

leadership support Dec 19, 2020

I had coffee with a friend the other day. A real face to face coffee which was awesome!

 Eventually the topic came around to leadership (as it tends to when I'm around) and my new friend shared a story that I wanted to share with you.

 She is a leader, and has a member of her team (let's call her Sandra for simplicity) who has made it clear she is interested in progressing in her career (good start, I thought). Sandra's work is of a high standard, she has a good work ethic and puts forward ideas on how the team can improve (all sounds good so far, right?). 

 Yet she wasn't getting opportunities for promotion.

 And if you'd asked my friend a couple of weeks back, she said she would have found it difficult to give Sandra feedback on why. She just knew there was somehing missing. Until...

Early last week, one of the other members of her team had some emergency time off - that was going to last over a week. They advised they had a number of things due soon after they were to return and were worried about the impact of that on them and the team. 

 During a meeting with Sandra my friend raised the issue, and Sandra asked if there was something she could take on. 

 And that's when my friend realised - this was the first time Sandra had taken an interest in helping the team out. Previously she had been so focused on her own work, her own contribution, her own career progression, that in two years she hadn't once offered to help out the team.

 So now my friend sees this person as a leader. Someone who she can give an opportunity to and knows she is a team player.

 A leader first needs to learn how to be a follower and show how to be a team player. Only then will they be a leader people want to follow.

 Have you seen managers that might have skipped this step? How do you find them as leaders? 

Are you a quietly determined career woman looking to get to your first, or next level leadership role?

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