The emerging leaders in organizations are often the most vital Human Resources in the hierarchy charts – so because they have a difficult profile. They have to meet the expectations of the leadership (boss) and also those of others (peers and team). The mismatch between these two is stressful and exhausting – especially if you are new to management. This leads to the phenomenon often termed as Disengagement.
Emerging leaders have higher levels of disengagement – countless middle management personnel across organizations report that they feel pulled in different directions by stakeholders with mismatched and conflicting needs. This, on top of having archaic procedures and systems to get real work accomplished. Even high performing managers cannot deliver on the kind of engagement required to perform under these circumstances.
Also Read: 4 Leadership lessons to learn from nature
In one way or the other, these middle cadre managers must steer through these inherent systemic challenges to emerge as visible, performing leaders. Against this backdrop, emerging leaders can perform better with some survival tips:
Be your own best friend
Your own motivations, positive and negative points – know these and speak to yourself about them. Unless you address these and rectify them, how can you impact and manage others effectively? To be a high performing manager, you will need to manage and motivate yourself. A full assessment and management training programs can help to iron out any lacunae which are there. The most HR department in organizations does have some so learning & development component which can be leveraged to help you enhance your professional capabilities.
Having analyzed your situation, you will have a clear idea of which level you are at and where you stand. This is time to align yourself and your team to the big picture and get mainstreamed. Strive to learn what is most important – help others to develop their contributions towards that to ensure purpose & contribution. This type of mainstreaming or alignment helps to get clarity resources, investments and decisions. This clarity will help define non-vital tasks that add layers of inefficiency that can be avoided. More importantly, this will help team members to feel valued and appreciated – a core requirement for middle managers and their teams.
Stay calm and take Charge
One trait top leaders share is that they remain calm at all times (especially in trying and difficult situations) and when things go sideways, they soldier on. When you have a team that looks up to you, you have to be resilient – and inculcate this trait in the team as well. A study of top management and middle cadre leaders revealed that the top-performing persons were those who were resilient and thought of themselves as responsible for their own lives. To put it plainly, they took the responsibility for their achievements rather than let circumstances overwhelm them. This is an admirable trait and emerging leaders must aspire to.
Hone Your Communication Abilities
For emerging leaders, creating a positive impact and impression is crucial. And every interaction with a team member or a senior…is an opportunity to do just that. More often than not, what leads to the disparities in performance between 2 teams are factors like the ability to share information and communicate expectations, and to work together towards a common goal. Effective communications help team leaders to negate the leverage information and drive teams towards achieving a common goal which can help businesses network efficiently. High performing managers have a much higher rate of communication, transparency and information flow than their peers. Hence, good communication skills are vital for emerging leaders to become better communicators and listeners.
Emerging leaders need to be influencers – impact others around them to drive outcomes. They must be able to navigate workplace dynamics and speak up for themselves and their team. Evolving, building, and maintaining good relations with key stakeholders must be backed by competent performance and achievement of goals. This will help in lending weight when persuasiveness is required.
Leading and managing others is definitely not for the weak. It takes multiple skills from decision making, communicating, analyzing, adapting to change, and influencing, besides others. Organizations and senior leaders should proactively identify and groom emerging leaders so they can bridge the gap between the workforce and C-suite management.