Changing of the Guard

For those of us living in the UK currently we have experienced two recent changes in leadership. The Queen has been replaced by a King, and a male Prime Minister has been replaced by a female Prime Minister. This made me wonder about how this might impact on the leadership of the country, and it will be interesting to watch as this unfolds.

There is another great difference in them taking on these new positions. King Charles has been a King in waiting for many years so has had a lot of time to consider how he would like his Kingship to be, how he will interact with his people, both locally and internationally. Liz Truss was suddenly thrown into the ring for the Prime Minister role and has had very little time to develop her plans and she, of course can lose her job whilst King Charles is secure for his lifetime.

This made us think about changes in leadership in organisations and why succession planning is so important. Preparing people to transition into leadership roles, whether at a junior or senior level, is about expanding their ability to understand and skillfully implement the role that they are taking on. It can seem very glamorous to be promoted and the possibility of the status and the money is very enticing! Few individuals really give thought to the consequences of promotion and are therefore often naïve about what to expect and prepare for, and organisations very rarely ‘onboard’ a promotion or give a handover that covers the people challenges.

There is another issue to face when individuals are stepping into leadership, or stepping up a level, and that is the fact that not everyone is going to be happy about their appointment. Both King Charles and Liz Truss have a lot of people who do not like them or want them in their positions, so there is the challenge of winning over the resisters.

At Chameleon Skills we have seen that many new, or newly promoted leaders, find that their biggest challenge is in managing the people dynamics. Should they start out being nice and hope people will like them or should they start tough and then ease up later? Neither of these approaches work well, as they are contrived and not authentic. People want to know who the leader really is, and only then
can they trust them.

We often say that we work with people who work with people because that is the reality in any organisation. The ability to lead and manage people is the key requirement as you move up the ladder. If you are not prepared to work on the continuum from empathy to dictator, then you are going to struggle. There are times when the coaching and consulting approach is best and others where people need and want clear direction. We work with our clients to be authentic in their relationships which means being honest and caring, the term Radical Candor, is a good description created by Kim Scott. It is about caring personally and challenging directly.

Do you have plans for promoting someone into a leadership position? Do you have coaching as part of your talent management or succession planning?

Training courses can only do so much, providing needed information and theories, but practical
implementation is a challenge. Training supported by coaching improves performance. According to
The Institute of Coaching and the International Coaching Federation the benefits of coaching are
many, and include but are not limited to:

  • 80% of people who receive coaching report increased self-confidence
  • Over 70% benefit from improved work performance, relationships, and more effective communication skills
  • 86% of companies report that they recouped their investment on coaching

If you want to develop the leaders you need for the future of your organisation, contact us and we will partner with you to build their skills, competence and confidence.

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