How to bridge the leadership gap
Which gap exactly? The gap between knowing what leading is all about, and putting this into practice! This is the critical space we need to work in to find ways to bridge the ‘knowing – doing gap’ which can plague both individuals and organisations seeking to strengthen their leadership capability.
How might we bridge the gap then?
Well let’s start with how you, as a Line Manager, can help your managers become better leaders. Your influence is far, far, greater than you may sometimes imagine.
Here are 6 ways to start you thinking:
- Do it yourself. Why should others do it when they can see that you do not? Do as I do works much better in the long run than do as I say. Role model the leadership behaviour and values you would like to see. Everyone is busy so show that you can make space for leading as an example to influence others.
- Make it personal. Take an active interest in the development of your people. Ask them what they have learned and ask them how they will be trying to put it into practice. Observe what they do and recognise their progress. Encourage them to ‘step up’ and practice their leadership skills.
- Share your personal journey and encourage them to share their journey with others. This could include displaying your and their commitments on a stand-up desk notice for others to see. When people make a visible leadership commitment it is tougher to let it slide.
- ‘Big up’ on the why. Do as much as you can to emphasise why this is important and the difference it can make in the real world for people and for achieving the vision. Consider where you are personally bridging this gap and explain how you do it - recognising how tough it is.
- Support people by seeing their potential, believing in them, and communicating your high expectations of them. People have a habit of living up to expectations. It also helps people to believe they are leaders. If they believe, then they are more likely practice their skills.
- Tell stories about good leadership stuff that happens. Encourage good leadership storytelling by giving people the chance to talk about their experiences. Keep your ‘ear to the ground’ for examples to communicate more widely.