Leading for Career and Money

The likelihood is that our first steps in leadership are done out of a drive to improve our circumstances rather than to benefit others.

Posted by Ian Ferguson, Leadership Coach on April 29, 2024

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Leading for Career and Money

It is not fashionable to say that we want to lead to earn more. It’s not as altruistic as saying I want to help others or change the world. Yet, unless we come from a very privileged or principled background, the likelihood is that our first steps in leadership are done out of a drive to improve our circumstances rather than to benefit others. We see opportunity to better ourselves and build our career.

"Millions of people are in exactly the same position as you. They know that if they want to earn more, they need to get off the factory floor and into management."

Most new leaders think that altruistic and principled leadership can wait until their mortgage is paid off or at least until they feel more financially stable. If you feel this, then you are not alone. Millions of people are in exactly the same position as you. They know that if they want to earn more, they need to get off the factory floor and into management. Many will have come from university, thinking that their degree will be their ticket to career development. They quickly learn that it is no more than a ticket through the door (and sometimes not even that) and cannot guarantee progression into leadership roles.

However, it is one thing wanting a bigger job to earn more. It is quite another to realise that although we may be expert in our current role, leading people and achieving things through others, is a very different set of skills.

Setting clear direction for the team, getting buy in, organising responsibilities, delegating, communicating up and down, prioritising and so on, are very often new skills. Even being able to say what good leadership actually is, can be difficult.

It is usually easy to understand what gets people their first leadership role. In our experience, it is usually:

  • showing initiative and drive for more responsibility. This usually means doing more than you are paid for, with visible discretionary effort
  • an ability to be assertive and liked, with good communication skills
  • expertise in the role area to be led. This is less important in more senior roles but in junior leadership roles it is crucial as the leader will also act as quality controller of the work. Indeed, they are often required to continue doing some of the work as well as be leader.

But, it is harder to define what success in the role looks like. We believe that what drives success in junior leadership roles and prepares these leaders for more progress is:

  • being Self-Aware, respected by all for having good values such as honesty and integrity and a willingness to help
  • having Self-Control with strong personal organisational skills
  • being very focused on what their Purpose is while championing customer needs and organisational values
  • establishing “friendly independence” from the team members (often previous peer colleagues and friends) and showing good People skills such as delegation
  • having a team that works at Pace delivering on time and to the required quality and within budgets

If your leadership journey is failing to launch then it may because you are unconsciously lacking in any or all of these areas. The 12-Month Growth Leaders Programme is designed to lead you through each of these areas of focus and, by completion of the course, have you feeling competent to lead and confident in your development as a leader. All for the price of a monthly gym membership.

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