Dealing with Unfamiliar Responsibilities
The primary challenges leadership development face includes new leaders equipping themselves with the necessary leadership skills and handling unfamiliar responsibilities.
Peter’s Principle holds people tend to rise to their level of incompetence. Most organizations reward key performers with promotions, and as such those promoted as leaders would invariably be top functional performers. The problem arises when good performers excelling in their technical or functional area do not have the skills required to become good leaders. Leadership requires specific skill sets such as people management skills, communication skills, tactfulness, decisiveness, empathy, proactivity, time management, and the like.
Leadership also entails additional responsibilities such as co-ordinating the team effort, carrying along non-performers, speaking for the team, motivating team members, and other unfamiliar tasks. The leader would also have to collaborate across functions and business units, and influence people in other departments or external agencies. All these may be alien to an otherwise competent technical professional.
The key to success as a leader lies in making a determined effort to inculcate the required new skills and practice into familiarity the new responsibilities. Eagerness to learn and remaining open to feedback and positive criticisms without feeling threatened by subordinates help overcome these challenges leadership development face.
For more details on various approaches to leadership, please see Bright Hub's detailed collection of articles on leadership styles.
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