Home > The Monday Musings Column > on the leadership line

on the leadership line

Around the factory at the moment is a whiff of success; one of the front line team is moving up to be a first line supervisor and a couple of others are taking up middle management roles. It is so good to see people getting on.

Looking back at my own years clinging to the greasy pole it was that first step that I think was the hardest to take. You move from being one of the workers to having to supervise them; to motivate, direct and discipline them and all at the roll of the calendar from one day to the next.

It is in human nature to test how far you can push. You do it instinctively as a child and whilst you temper that as an adult there is still something that is almost irresistible about pushing your luck. There is that animal instinct about smelling fear too and any sign of weakness will be pounced on.

There is a line in leadership that separates the leader from their followers. No-one an tell you where it is and it varies from team to team. You will know it when you find it and, once you have, it is easier to find again in your next team. It won’t be in the same place, but you will find it quicker.

Trust and respect are vital to leadership and if you trust and respect your team they will return the favour. Never be afraid to ask your team because it is not a sign of weakness, it is you respecting and trusting their experience and knowledge. You will have to implement change because it is constant, so talk to your people about what you need to achieve and seek their thoughts on how best to implement it. Having them on board will make your life easier and the more that you involve your team the better relationship you will have.

All of us who progress in our careers need to find that leadership line as a rite of passage. Those of us that do find it generally do better in the long run than those that don’t. Feel your way and don’t fear making mistakes for they will teach you more than success will. But make sure that you own the failures and learn from them: Those who have found the leadership line know that success belongs to the team.

A true leader accepts that the buck stops with them when things go wrong, but that all credit for success goes to their people.

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