Not being aware of everything that’s on your mind can be a barrier to taking control of your role. This means you are operating at a level too low and trying to do too much.
This leads to overwhelm, stress and exhaustion. Too much overwhelm creates distress and impacts our health and it can become a downward spiral as your ability to think clearly diminishes. Finding ways to acknowledge what you are feeling, working out how to manage the workload, and filter the information that you are being bombarded with, is crucial to your wellbeing.
When you are in too much overwhelm you may go into survival mode, and do something, anything to feel like you are in control. This means, ff you are new to your leadership role, you may want to stay across everything. You may be trying to do it all while waiting for your team to come up to speed.
Leading at the right level is about doing the work relevant for your pay grade, and your team doing the work relevant for their pay grade.
You are operating at the right level when:
- You are aware of what your team is working on, but not down to the tiniest details.
- You are not doing everything yourself.
- You are letting go of the work that used to be part of your old role and focusing on the work required according to your role description.
- You have reduced the number of meetings you attend, particularly those with representation by your team members.
- You are reviewing papers or presentation packs for final edits only.
- Your team is building strong relationships with stakeholders and other areas of your organisation.
- You may start to find moments in the day when you have nothing to do!
When you start to level up, you can start focusing on doing less of the work that your team should be doing and building your team’s capability so they can perform better and take on more responsibility. You need to approach things differently to lead the team well, so that you’re all performing at the right level. This is about letting go of what you used to do.
Levelling up means focusing on the work appropriate for your role. This is what will make you a memorable manager – that leader who brings a level of wisdom to your role and creates a transformational influence for your team, where you make the decision and take the actions and risks needed to have the impact you seek to have.
Then you can achieve the three critical outcomes needed for exceptional business success:
Engagement – meaning being personally engaged in how effectively you lead. The measure for your level of engagement is what you are getting from your team. Which requires that you have the right awareness to support each team member with what they need to perform at their best. You can then enjoy increased buy-in from the team.
Predictable Performance – means understanding how, as a leader, you can shift the organisation from situational overwhelm to productive control. Your team are doing what they are expected to do. The work is in safe hands, and you don’t need to be across every tiny detail, you can have a more outward focus and concentrate on high value work, appropriate for your pay grade. Your area stands out and the team outperforms similar teams.
Team Empowerment – meaning the level of empowerment each member of your team experiences to go above and beyond expectations with their role. This requires leaders to create: a sense of purpose, urgency, and accountability with their staff so they can operate almost autonomously. The individuals in your team stand out for their exceptional performance.
When you level up the whole team’s productivity increases, as does team engagement and collaboration. You have some time back in your day to start focussing on that higher value, future focused work you didn’t have time for before, and more time outside of work to relax and rejuvenate.
You start to be noticed for the good work you and your team are doing and your career will start to soar.
This is leading, which requires new skills, so be prepared to become a learner again.
Written by Maree Burgess.
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