We now move from the inner circle of inside-out leadership, where the first four traits are character based- they define who Mary is, to the middle circle where the traits refer to what she does to lead those around her.
I appreciate that, early in your career, you may feel that some of these middle circle traits are less relevant to you. You will probably not yet be line-managing teams of people. I would like to suggest, however, that they absolutely are relevant now, for two reasons:
Firstly, you many not be line-managing larger teams now, but as your career progresses you may well do in the future. Equipping yourself with these principles now will stand you in good stead for that day. These principles of effectiveness are timeless.
Secondly, they apply even if you line-manage a single person, or if you lead teams of volunteers, or even in your work with colleagues, or on project teams.
I’d like to share with you just three principles for effective people management. They may be relevant already, they certainly will be as your career develops, so keep them close to you! They are all from ‘Good to Great’ and summarise Jim Collins’ study of leading teams in great organisations:
- If in doubt don’t recruit
- when you know you have a people issue, act
- put your best people on your biggest opportunities
A final thought- getting the right people on the bus and leading them effectively is far from easy. Indeed I believe it’s up there with the most difficult things any leader has to do. Having difficult conversations is particularly challenging. But you cannot avoid them. Mary does not enjoy difficult conversations, but she knows she cannot avoid them. It takes courage, resolve, and the determination to always do the right thing in the right way.