Some skills are perishable and others aren't. Swimming and riding a bike are skills we tend to retain, but leadership is not. You lose what you don't use!
As managers advance through their career, leadership skills they once possessed often go dormant.
The reasons -
- Management isn't leadership - as management responsibilities like meetings increase, there's less time for leadership interactions.
- Leadership isn't just one skill - leadership a portfolio of skills that include communication, delegation, influence and time management. The list is long.
- Leadership is interpersonal - your leading people, and everyone's different. For that reason, each skill requires multiple variations.
- Your attributes change - over time, personal characteristics like confidence, empathy and patience often change.
WHY THIS MATTERS
As managers advance their careers, a false sense of security can emerge. "I must be doing something right, I keep getting promoted!" The problem is, you may be managing more and leading less.
You manage things - things like budgets, schedules and forecasts. You lead people.
"Management" and "leadership" are sibling rivals. They're very different, but closely related. And they both compete for your valuable time and attention.
It matters because leadership duties often take a back seat to management duties. You have a big presentation this Friday, and you need time to prepare. So you cancel your 1-on-1's. Feedback and coaching can wait. It's a bad habit many managers fall prey to.
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