Leading leaders; a light hand on the tiller

Unlock your next level’s leadership potential and they will never look back.

Most IT professionals reach a point in their career where they need to transition from relying on their core technical skills to managing people. Being asked to run a team simply moves them from writing their own code to managing other people who also write code. Unlocking the code of human performance requires much more leadership acumen and athough we teach this change of mindset we often forget our role also changes. [1st of 5 paragraphs]

As your IT managers move beyond their core technical skills and unlock their leadership potential so you need to adjust your style and shift your mindset. Managing a manager still gets the software built but leading a leader can change the world. Pace it correctly so that your stretch = their growth and you will build the foundations of next generation CIOs. [2/5]

The tiller of a sailboat is what you hold to control the rudder – move it and you change direction. If the sail is perfectly set for the amount of wind and the direction you are going then you just need a light hand. People are the same; set them up for success, point them in the right direction and light touch leadership keeps them on the right course. [3/5]

Of course, as in sailing, it doesn’t just happen – you’ve invested time and preparation, you’ve coached extensively and now their leadership journey begins. Your transition is just as important as theirs and you will need to be simultaneously confident in your own contribution to that point and their potential to go even further. Now it’s about the journey; hold too tight and you restrict their growth, let go completely and they’ll flounder. [4/5]

Getting this balance right can be one of the most definitive moments of both your careers; the rest of the team will also benefit immensely. Resist the temptation to step back in too strongly when times get rough; smooth seas do not make good sailors. You’ve partnered with them now so take any lessons along the way as a team and don’t revert back to managing them – you just might take the wind out of their sails. [5/5]

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