Right now I’m going to ask all you managers out there that read this to do something completely counter cultural. I’m going to ask you to break out of the current conformity within business and do something different.

It’s time to rebel.

It’s time to break out of the tight constraints that current business practice has you tied up in.

It’s time to release yourself from the shackles of management and step up into a leading role.

It’s time.. To dare to lead.

Right now there are many things that are wrong with business. One of the fundamental issues is that everyone is managing and no one is leading. It’s a provocative statement but in my opinion it is true, there are too many managers and not enough leaders.

So what is the difference?

Well leaders are like directors (in a film/play). Their role is to be able to have a perspective on what is going on. They are the ones with the oversight, who ensures that all the parts are working together to produce the best possible result.

Excellent directors (like leaders) play two main roles visionary and facilitator. They are always looking for how the parts could work together even better to produce even more innovative results – the visionary part – and they do everything they can to make it easy for their people to give of their best – the facilitator part.  Notice we say facilitator rather than manager. Sure its important for a leader to be able to manage in fact you cannot be a leader without being an excellent manager, however when you step up into leadership you become a facilitator not a manager.

So what’s going wrong?

Right now business is busy being busy. It hasn’t time (or budget) to develop people as they are promoted. There isn’t the time to ‘show someone the ropes’ or handover properly to the new manager, and so although the person promoted has the raw talent and skills to do the role they are not given the time to develop their managerial skills to such a level as to fit the new higher position. With constant restructuring in most organisations since the recession this means that many people are now doing the role that pre-recession was done by a minimum of two people. This means that there are many ‘leadership teams’ who just do not have the leadership skills required to lead rather than manage. This means that there is an effective ‘shrinking’ of the management structure, directors feeling they have to ‘step in’ to manage things that really they shouldn’t be managing!

If you’re a manager you probably already feel that your directors/senior managers do this too much. How does this make you feel as a manager? Well it tends to make you feel disempowered. Why bother when the likelihood is that your boss will step in and change it or interfere anyway?

On the flip side I hear over and over again from people we know who are directors that their leadership teams are not ‘stepping up to the mark’ that they feel they have to intervene and are fed up with having to do so.

So if both sides don’t like what’s going on, maybe its something that needs to be looked at? Maybe its something that needs to be paid attention to, a fundamental problem that needs to be resolved.

There is a simple solution. And it’s so simple that I really can’t understand why no one is doing it.

How about investing a short amount of time (and money) into developing your leadership teams’ leadership skills? How about getting back to having a ‘handover period’ (of a few months) when someone who has been promoted gets to grow into their role rather than just being expected to run from day one? There was a genuine reason for doing this, it meant that it could be identified what extra skills/development they needed in order to effectively do the role and meant that their senior manager could get back to what they did best, leading!

So what can you do? You, the manager, the leader within your organisation?

Well, you can either wait for someone to encourage or tell you to lead..  (Good luck with that one; you may be waiting a very long time!!) OR you can just DARE TO LEAD.

Whatever level you are within your organisation if you have line management responsibilities, then you have an opportunity to lead.

Yes I know that your organisation’s leaders may well be caught in managing too much, but if you don’t take action and step up into leading then who will?

It feels that right now everyone is waiting for everyone else to do something. Waiting for a miracle to happen when suddenly everything changes. It’s not going to happen unless someone starts to do something different. So how about YOU do something different?

How about you buck the trend and start to lead rather than manage? How about you become the director of the film of the story of your life at work? How about you start to create a new version of how work is for you. One where you empower yourself (And empowerment can only EVER come from you first!) to start leading your staff in the way that you would like to be lead?

You see we KNOW how to lead, we just don’t believe that we can in the places we work. We don’t believe we have the power or the authority to. And yet if we are not in control of our own behaviours/ways of being then who is?

Isn’t it time we took our own power back?
Isn’t it time that we decided to embody how we want leaders in our workplace to be?

If we don’t do it? Then who will?

Its time for a change and change starts with you first. So if you want to change the way that your organisation is lead, start by leading yourself. Start being the model for how it could be. You’ll soon get results and they’ll be visible (if you shout about them), you could be the example that others can follow and when enough people are daring to lead then it influences up. If people start being leaders we can change the world of business and if we change the world of business we can truly change the world.

Go on.. I dare you.

Dare to lead this month, treat it as an experiment and see what happens!

And if you need help or want some advice on how best to lead, how to take that step up into leadership, then we here at Meta are at your service. We have a vast library of research and a wealth of experience on the subject of putting leadership into action.

So please do call on us, we’d be happy to help you, why? Because our mission is to change the way we do business for good and if we can help you, then we’re doing what we’re here to do!

Much love to you all,

Jo xxx

About Jo Clarkson

Jo Clarkson is the CEO of Meta and a frequent writer of the Meta-Org.com blog.


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