By Michael Holland     

There’s a dance going on each and every day between emerging leaders and their bosses.  The emerging leaders are in their first management role trying desperately to balance an insane workload with the art of delegating to their former peers. The emerging leaders appropriately want/desire a consistent, safe space to gain wisdom from their bosses in order to form the foundations of their management skills.  However, their bosses are dancing to a whole different beat — think country-western 2 step versus hip hop — as they rush through their week oblivious to the gap they are creating with their emerging leaders.

Hey bosses, here are 5 things emerging leaders want from you.

  1. Give Me Real Time – Be in the moment when you are meeting with me.  Stop looking at your phone, stop gazing off thinking about your next meeting, stop looking at your computer to see the emails arriving and stop canceling and shortening my meetings with you.
  2. Convey That You Understand the Role of the Leader – You are leading me while I develop an understanding of what this role of a leader really is all about.  You need to be at least one step ahead of me so that you can guide me forward.  Need help?  Read John Maxwell’s The 5 Levels of Leadership: Proven Steps to Maximize Your Potentialto gain some insight.
  3. Explain The Secret Code of Urgency – To me, everything piles up into a huge mountain of urgent.  I’m now invited to too many meetings than are humanly possible to attend.  You need to provide the guard rails which enable me to decipher the new language of management urgency.  How can everything be urgent?
  4. Act Like the Leader You Want Me to Be – You are the example I am supposed to follow.  Your actions and behaviors speak volumes to me regarding how a leader leads.  Telling me how to lead, blowing off my meetings, yelling at me, never being happy with my decisions, dumping projects on me versus delegating, and letting the full extent of your “personality” flow forth like water from a fire hose show me the walk you are walking.  Is this really how you want me to behave with my team of employees?
  5. Shut Up and Listen – I haven’t been through a management training program – for whatever reason – and I have thoughts/ideas/questions/instincts/beliefs that I need to reconcile.  Stop talking and really listen to the question behind my question I am asking or wrestling with.  Reveal the listening skills you expect me to use.

And by the way, I can intellectually understand you may only be a step or two ahead of me in understanding the art and science of leading people because you didn’t get trained for the job either.  But you are paid the big bucks to figure it out and teach me.  So get on with it.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • Force rank the five items.  Find a peer and have them do the same.  Now compare and contrast your lists and talk through the first two items on your list.
  • Are you further up the food chain in leadership?  Which of the five items would the leaders you lead say best describes you?