The FromDoerToLeader™ Model
The Doer's Failure
For many of us, not only managers, in the face of urgency and challenge, taking some kind of action is our general default mode. It feels comfortable to be “doing something”. We are reluctant to give up on our “get busy” tendency, and it is often reinforced when we are under stress.
This reflexive urge for action seems to be triggered for 3 main reasons. First of all, “doing things”, being “in action mode” is a quick fix toward reassuring us that we are, in fact, making a contribution. Second, In the workplace, we seem to have social and cultural pressures that guide us to do more and more while resisting the adoption of more thoughtful and deliberate attitudes and methods. We seem to be somewhat afraid of being punished for what we did not do, and so, we tend to do more than what is expected. Thirdly, we know we all resist change, and taking such a dramatic shift in our ingrained modus operandi can be very difficult to do
We’ve all witnessed people or colleagues who not only work very hard and excessively long hours. It’s not uncommon for such people to continue taking more and more onto their shoulders, accepting responsibility for nearly everything, while not protecting their own time or maintain for themselves healthy personal boundaries. We call them “workaholics”. Take a serious look to these people: they are often not respected or promoted. Why, despite their total commitment and loyalty to their company, are they often not promoted or considered for a change? This is simply because, most of the time, they are seen as doers, “workers”, and not as future leaders in the company.
Based on the ideas that 1- Being a Doer is a failure and 2- More leadership has a direct impact on the efficiency of our actions and on our results, one question arises: how can managers raise their level of consciousness in order to help them be more Leaders than Doers?
Years of observation and of coaching sessions with executives, leaders and managers emphasize 5 behaviors that doers are displaying:
Lack of interest in self-awareness
Poor or no vision
Reluctance to delegate
Reluctance to ask for help
Not enough time to think
Coaching around those “behaviors” helps managers feel more comfortable and significantly improves their leadership skills and results. Actually, those items are so simple and easy to track that when they start working on them, managers play with them like a game. They are even monitoring themselves from one session to another to track the number of times they “did not delegate”, the time they allow in their busy schedule to “think” in order to create a deeper vision, how many people they asked for help, etc. Some of them are even drawing curves to track their progress from week to week and rate themselves as good or bad leader.
Knowing our strengths allows us to grow; knowing our limits allows us to question ourselves and be able to better monitor our risks. Getting to know others enables us to understand them better and to improve our communication. Most people don’t really know themselves or are reluctant to do so. We often talk about what we do, rarely about who we are as a person, or even more rarely what we feel.
Today most organizations are aware of that and offer more emphasis on individual development, for the sake of well-being and talent retention.
Some of the benefits of knowing yourself better are maximizing the quality of our presence and in return, our relationships with others, engaging in other types of more human and less business-oriented relationships, and recognizing our own limitations is a proof of intelligence;
Get a Vision
What is my role in the company? Am I comfortable describing my mission, sharing my vision, and framing my action in the context of my business and my area of work? no one can act blindly without weighing the stakes. How is it possible to manage priorities without a clear vision of what we want to achieve?
There are plenty of reasons for managers to forget or avoid driving their teams through the vision. They simply feel that they always have other operational priorities. There is a kind of fear to go beyond the regular day-to-day communication messages, based on information about tasks and projects. Talking about vision requires courage and the idea of using a different and much more engaging leadership style that managers feel sometimes like dangerous.
The main benefit is to act beyond the things we have to do at an operational level. When we accomplish things without being driven by a vision, we don’t put our heart in it, we don’t engage with passion.
Team is everything, and delegation to team members is a must. Leaders who don’t rely on their team because they don’t trust them or are afraid to lose power cannot grow.
The level of performance of a team is directly connected to the level of delegation of the manager in charge. Delegation, if properly done leverages the team performances because it is a virtuous circle
The major reasons why most managers are reluctant to delegate are the fear of letting go of power or losing control, feeling that "it is easier and faster to do it by myself” and the lack of technique and experience to delegate better and more
Ask For Help
No one is an expert in everything, asking for advice is a sound practice in decision making and shows that one knows its limits. A leader must seek advice internally from HR to IT or legal when necessary. A healthy practice is also to solicit external experts, seek advice, and conduct market research.
A study by Stanford Business School examined the qualities that companies are looking for in order to promote high potential into executive positions including the CEO position. The first quality is the ability to put together and function as part of a team. -The second one is the ability to function under stress-. The ability to rely on other expertise and support is a key success factor in order to grow as a leader.
Avoiding immediate and emotional responses, taking time to assess and think before action seems to be obvious, but often forgotten.
The spiral of action is the real answer here. The pressure that comes from the organization as a whole is extremely hard to leave for an operational manager. Everything that he does that does not produce a tangible result is not valued as “work”. Ideas enter into that list. “I don’t pay you to think, I pay you to do the job”.
In today's world, knowledge is not what counts, it is the ability to transform the knowledge into other avenues and the ability to provide other solutions, think outside the box, let new ideas emerge, etc.