Many bosses assume their job is to provide the right answers and implementation of processes and assignments. After all, having the technical or functional skills and knowledge is what made them successful. Likewise, employers often emphasize these qualifications and behaviors in their hiring for managerial positions.
The reality is that leadership has evolved in terms of the role of “hard” versus “soft” skills. Evidence of that is in the distinction between the definitions of “management” and “leadership”.
- Management is often defined as making certain a project, program or ongoing process is executed correctly, timely and according to plan; ensuring all subordinates follow their job descriptions and directives.
- Leadership assumes also that the process and tasks are fulfilled, though expects them to be accomplished through collaboration, support and inspiration.
A core premise of effective leadership is to serve as a coach and teacher with a reservoir of information, tools and resources to enable subordinates to be top performers while they learn and grow. The traditional expectation that the boss is supposed to personally have all the right answers is fading into the sunset. The real value of a leader today is recognized as building trust and developing team members to take responsibility for reaching the right conclusions and executing the best solutions. The higher the level, the more this is necessary.
Respected business advisers have advocated this approach for decades. Robert Greenleaf brought it into sharper focus when he began teaching the concept of “Servant Leadership”. There has been some reluctance to use the phrase “servant” in depicting one’s self, concern that others would consider it a weak, rather than strong quality for a leader. However, as we understand the gurus, and review the impact of servant leadership on business and organizational effectiveness, it appears that the so-called “soft skills” are the new “hard skills”.
Are you a manager or a leader? How would coaching help enhance your leadership skills? We welcome your comments.
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[Ed. note: Please welcome Russ as an author on the UCU blog. I’ve know Russ and worked with him on several projects in recent years. He has an amazingly soft-spoken way to bring out the best in people.]
Russ Yaquinto, Master Certified Coach, helps individuals Be the best they can Be. He works with business leaders who want to transform from good to great! For more information, contact Russ at Russ@TheChangeConnection.com, 972-943-3030, or visit www.TheChangeConnection.com.