When a great employee becomes a team leader, supervisor or manager, the transition isn’t always smooth. This week we examine some of the challenges and advice for moving from doer to leader.
Great workers can become mediocre leaders if they don’t acknowledge that some of the characteristics of being a great worker can work against them in the leadership role.
To get promoted, an employee demonstrates that he or she has a good work ethic, is reliable, cares about the company and solves problems. These are all good things and yet as a leader the doer must now get things done through others.
New leaders have two reactions to their new found power and authority: 1. They become too bossy and alienate the team, or 2. They go too easy on the team and lose respect and don’t achieve the desired results.
Especially where the leader had close friendships with co-workers, he or she might find it a challenge to balance leadership and friendship. Employees may also ask for special favors.
A leader must set the direction and tempo of the workgroup, challenge employees to solve problems on their own and achieve the results without doing all the work themselves.
Many new leaders practice the golden rule – treat people as YOU want to be treated. The problem is that employees may not be motivated by the same factors as the new leader. The leader therefore must practice the platinum rule – treat people as THEY want and need to be treated.
As a doer, the individual may have chosen to be more friendly with some co-workers than others. As a leader, building a strong team means not playing favorites and treating each person with dignity and respect.
Tips for Moving from Doer to Leader
- Learn to feel a sense of achievement from getting results as a team versus only from your own efforts.
- Let your friends know that as a leader you need to be consistent and fair to everyone in the workgroup and that playing favorites could put your job in jeopardy.
- Get your team to come up with answers and solutions on their own to keep them from being overly reliant on you which could turn you into a glorified gopher.
- Get some leadership training, practice constructive leadership techniques and learn to get comfortable in your new leadership role.
With some conscious effort and a willingness to succeed the doer can become an excellent leader.