Making the leap from manager to leader

Effective leaders inspire others. In business, they drive a climate of passion, innovation and commitment by understanding the business architecture and value streams.

Jackie O’Dowd, Managing Director of Realising Potential, says being an effective leader in an organisation is similar to being a conductor of an orchestra.

What do you mean by that?

Look at the elements of the role, then add your values, capabilities and competencies. You become the orchestra conductor. You’ve got a team of different players with different strengths and some who play louder than others but you need the whole orchestra to play together. You drive the performance.

What does a good conductor do?

Take a holistic view and align the organisation: its systems, processes, people and information flows. An effective leader looks at roles, but also considers the capabilities of the team, including their thinking and behavioural styles.

A manager leads each section to make sure players demonstrate the required behaviour for the performance, but a leader chooses the music, the tempo, the roles, and what will be accomplished at the end of the concert.

What are some common stumbling blocks?

To become a better leader you need to be able to bring technical, analytical and social elements together. Interpersonal skills are critical because it all comes back to communication and example. Technical and process systems are easier to fix.

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