Learning to Lead – moving from a task focus to a people focus.

highperformingteam leadership team Feb 27, 2024

Stepping into leading can be daunting and exciting, especially if you’re accustomed to being successful in being a domain expert, known for getting things done. What made you successful at doing won’t make you successful at leading. The shift from being a doer to a leader requires a significant change in focus – from completing tasks to empowering and guiding people. This transition demands a new set of skills and strategies.

Here are some strategies for you to consider.

Cultivate self-awareness

When we start to focus on others’, their needs, aspirations, strengths, blindspots and motivations; we realise that until we understand ourselves and our own internal world, and until we start to self-regulate, we cannot hope to lead people well. Ultimately, we can control nothing except our own responses.

Embrace the mindset shift

Transitioning from a task- orientated mindset to a people-centric one is fundamental. Recognising that our primary responsibility is not to ourselves and to our own task completion, but to others and what they need to be enabled to operate effectively. Remember that your success as a leader is determined by the success of others.

Develop strong communication skills

Effective communication lies at the heart of successful leadership. Shift your focus from simply completing tasks to fostering open and clear communication channels within your team. Listen actively, have a quality of presence (and this requires cultivation) provide constructive feedback, and ensure that your team understands the vision and goals you're working towards.

Delegate and empower

As a leader, you can no longer do everything yourself. Learn to delegate tasks effectively based on each team members strengths and capabilities. Empower your team by giving them ownership and autonomy over their work, while providing guidance and support when needed.

Prioritise Relationship Building

Building strong relationships with your team members is essential for effective leadership. Take the time to get to know each team member individually, understand their strengths, motivations, blind spots, and career aspirations. Foster a supportive and inclusive work environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

Lead by example

Your actions speak louder than words. Lead by example by demonstrating the behaviors and work ethic you expect from your team. Show integrity, accountability, and a commitment to excellence in everything you do. Your team will look to you for guidance and inspiration, so set a positive example.

Be the coach in the room

Shift your focus from simply completing tasks to developing the skills and capabilities of your team members. Invest in developing your coaching skills, learn how to ask powerful questions, provide ongoing coaching and enable your team members reach their full potential.

There is no final destination

Leadership is a journey of continuous learning and growth. You don’t need to have all of the answers. Be open to feedback, reflect on your experiences, and seek out opportunities to enhance your leadership skills. Stay curious, adapt to change, and be willing to evolve as a leader.

Making the transition from doing to leading is challenging and can be described as one, big personal development bootcamp. By starting to experiment with the strategies above, you can navigate this transition successfully. Remember, leadership is not about being the hero who does it all, but about empowering others to fulfil their potential.