The Year of the New and Emerging Leader

By People Leaders | People Leaders Podcast

The Year of the Emerging Leader

New and emerging leaders are usually given the short straw when it comes to leadership development and training. They’re often thrust into a role based on technical achievement and/or attitude and aren’t given much in the way of training in people leadership.

This is a huge mistake, because these are the people on the front line, the interface between the objectives of the organisation and ‘the work’ that makes those objectives come about. It’s the make-or-break point for deep leadership to take hold in an organisation.

What happens all too often is that new and emerging leaders focus on managing “the work,” instead of managing the people who are meant to be doing the work, and end up taking too much of the work on themselves. 

And on top of that, they’re expected to manage the dynamic of the workplace, and spend too much time resolving conflict or compensating for underperformers in the workplace.

This is why high-performing teams are so rare. Most teams are “getting by,” but it’s because a leader, and perhaps one or two other high performers, are carrying the bulk of the load. 

Meanwhile, the rest of the team flies under the radar, not necessarily because they are lazy, but because their leader doesn’t have the skills to lead, to bring out the best in the team.

Efficient, Effective and Respected

So this year we’re taking a stand for new and emerging leaders. We’re dedicating our content to helping them make the transition from being a manager to being a leader, from being overworked and underappreciated to becoming efficient, effective and appreciated.

So if you are a new and emerging leader, we’ve got your back. Pay attention to what’s coming your way because it’s especially for you.

And if you are a leader of new and emerging leaders, we’ve got your back too. We know that passing on leadership skills can be tricky, especially if you haven’t been taught them yourself or if you’re more of an intuitive leader and you don’t fully understand the process behind your style of leadership.

This is the level where deep leadership takes hold in an organisation and we’re committed to seeing that happen wherever we can.

So this episode of the podcast is a taste of what’s to come this year. 

It ends with an invitation to tell us what you want to hear about. We’d love to know the challenges you are facing, and the questions you have, as a new and emerging leader or a leader of new and emerging leaders. 

Listen to or watch the podcast here, and contact us to let us know what we can do to help you
Episode Highlights:

[01:29] The Power of Planning in Personal and Professional Success

[02:23] This is the Year of Emerging Leaders

[03:24] Skills and Performance

[05:03] The Importance of Investing in Emerging Leaders

[06:22] Understanding Personality in Leadership Development

[08:00] Producing to Measuring

[08:57] Organising Others

[10:17] Stepping Back from the Detail

[10:55] Implementing Change

[12:25] Immediate Focus to Short-Term Focus

[13:39] Always Look One Level Up

[14:48] What Does Success Look Like for You and Your Team?

[15:56] Life Rewards Action

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NB: This transcript has been AI generated and may contain some slight errors. Please judge our efforts accordingly 🙂

Jan Terkelsen: [00:00]

So it feels good that we've just completed our planning session. So, um, Michelle and I, over two sessions, did our planning. And usually, we do our planning face-to-face. Like before Covid, we went to Bali, didn't we? And we'd do things, and then, I don't know, things happened as they do, and we decided, you know what, we're not going to get together sooner, so let's just do it over Zoom.

Jan Terkelsen: And we did it, and we did it over two sessions. And we did it in the morning. We did it when we were fresh.

And I think the reason why it was all so successful, Michelle, is that we had a framework. And we really wanted to do it, we were motivated. Because, as you know, our personality types, we love to get things done, and we love to have structure and order. And with our plan now, we have really clear focus areas.

And on the podcast previous to this, you'll actually hear how we plan. You'll get some templates around our framework. So you can do that with you and your team as well.

[01:29] The Power of Planning in Personal and Professional Success

Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah, the only only thing I'd add to that is, Jan, being back working with clients now what I have noticed is those people in the workplace, the up-and-coming managers, people who are seen to be talented, rising stars of the organisation, guess what is the one thing that they've all had in common. Is that they have started to either ask me, or started to put together some sort of plan.

And I, and I sort of, really, piqued my interest, and I asked them, "Oh, is this something new?" and they were, "No, I've always done this. You know, planned out my year, whether they were personal professional goals." Some people are really systematic about it, and others just give like an hour or two of their time to put pen to paper to do that.

So isn't that interesting? Like, I, we intuitively knew that, but anecdotally, to see that happening in the workplace is reassuring actually.

[02:23] This is the Year of Emerging Leaders

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah. And some organisations do it differently. They get cascaded down. However, if you are managing a team, whether it's a team of one or two, or if it's 200, having a plan allows people a sense of certainty.

There's a sense of clarity around their roles and responsibilities. And that's a thing that really has helped us, isn't it in our business?

And as you mentioned, it's the new up and comings are the ones that are doing things differently. And I don't know if our listeners are aware, but this is the Year of the Emerging Leader for us. So our focus is really on new and emerging leaders, people who are aspiring to become impactful leaders.

And so, if that is you, hang on, because you are in for a ride this year. We are going to really share with you a lot of information, content, stories to make sure that you've got the right tools in your toolkit.

And if you are a leader, or a manager, of aspiring leaders or up-and-comings, or talent, this is something that you might want to listen to and maybe share with your team as well.

[03:24] Skills and Performance

Jan Terkelsen: All right, so let's have a look at some of the research around new and emerging leaders, Michelle.

Michelle Terkelsen: Yeah. So what's interesting is that only slightly more than a third of managers, as opposed to leaders, strongly agree that they've had the opportunity to learn at work, and grow in the past year.

And when I reflect on my involvement with new and emerging leaders last year, a lot of it was just grinding, getting through the work. And when you leave it to your manager to determine your learning and growth opportunities, well, they're going to focus on their most important things.

And sometimes it's, your learning and development isn't that. You need to make it the most important thing.

36% of new managers don't fully believe they have the skills to do their best work.

Now, that is something that we hear over and over again, is that they don't feel that they have skills. They have been promoted into a supervisory or a new management role, and they don't feel that they've got the skills in order to execute that well.

And you know, they're on the right channel, aren't they, if they're here with us, because we are going to help them develop those skills over the next year.

And then 65% of these managers do not strongly agree that they understand how their performance affects their own opportunities for career development and growth.

And so, this is all about understanding the link between your own performance and the impact that that performance will have on you getting ahead in the organisation or your growth as a manager.

[05:03] The Importance of Investing in Emerging Leaders

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah, we've seen it in a lot of organisations, Michelle, haven't we? That new and emerging leaders are the least invested in. However, they're the ones that are closest to the ground.

These are the ones who have moved from this technical competency, or analysts who are very competent, into, "Oh, now I'm actually leading others," which is a whole different skill set.

And some of the stats that I found interesting, and this is from ESTD, which is the world's largest professional, accreditation and training development company, and they said that 34% of HR, this is human resource practitioners, say that better teamwork would provide the single biggest potential gain in their organisation.

So if you are a leader, or a new and emerging leader, it means that you are leading others, and to be able to create an effective or high-performing team, that is going to really create an impact.

Because as a leader, it doesn't become about you now and your competency. It actually becomes about your people and their competency and capability. So there really is a bit of a mindset shift, doesn't it, you know, for new and emerging leaders, that happen?

And you can see them, it's like, right, I don't know, for all these years they've been investing in themselves and developing and now it's like, "Oh, I've got to do the same for other people." And that's what's going to make you successful.

[06:22] Understanding Personality in Leadership Development

Michelle Terkelsen: And, and it's, and it is a very fine line that new and emerging leaders have to walk on actually because most of them also have their own responsibilities that they need to continue to deliver on.

But in addition to that, they are being judged on how well the team members that they're sort of guiding and supporting, how well they're doing. And so, yeah, it's a really heavy responsibility sometimes, for new and emerging leaders if they don't know what to do and they don't have a framework.

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah, that's right. However, it's very rewarding.

Michelle Terkelsen: Oh yeah.

Jan Terkelsen: You know, when you actually start to impact the lives of other people and very humbling as well.

And one of the other stats that I thought was really interesting is 44% of people say that personality and ego are the biggest sources of conflict at work.

And as you know, Michelle and I are practitioners in a lot of personality tools, specifically, the Myers Briggs is the one that we use quite a lot, and we've been conducting quite a lot of workshops over the years and just recently.

And we've found that once people understand and have a level of awareness around their personality and what drives them, and then they can see what drives other people, instead of being judgemental, instead of condemning people, they actually start to accept, "Ah, that's how they're wired."

I mean, it's not an excuse, the disrespectful communication and all that, but it really does allow people having that generosity of spirit and being curious as opposed to, "Oh, that's the way they are."

Michelle Terkelsen: And judgemental.

Jan Terkelsen: That's right, which is a fixed position about someone.

[08:00] Producing to Measuring

Jan Terkelsen: So as new and emerging leaders, this is another area that you would want to start to investigate is around your ego and also personality, developing your level of self-awareness.

So let's have a look, Michelle, at what are some of those things that you need to kind of be mindful of when you transition from an effective technician or analyst, so that individual contributor, through to a new and emerging leader?

So let's just pick a couple out.

So the first one would be producers. So an effective technician actually produces the work, whereas if you now are moving towards that new and emerging leader, you are now going to start to measure work. So not just measuring tasks and output, but it's also the team and their performance and satisfaction.

So it moves from producing to measuring. And that's a real clear distinction, isn't it, Michelle?

[08:57] Organising Others

Michelle Terkelsen: Oh, absolutely. And, following on from that is this transition from somebody who is responsible for doing the work, you said, but in addition to that, you're focusing on organising people. So it's not just organising the work, you know, but it's organising the people to do the work.

And having worked with a lot of new and emerging leaders over the years, that does cause a lot of stress, because they are so good at organising themselves and organising the work for themselves, the people now that they're responsible for, or have some sort guidance over, don't have the same mindset, and they find that extremely frustrating.

And don't understand why these people aren't organised and have, you know, got a list and, you know, are as motivated as they are. And yet they're somewhat responsible for organising these people so that they can get their work done.

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah, and that's why it's a different skill set because, sometimes we've just got to assume that people aren't going to be as motivated as you, hence why you are in a leadership position.

So what are some of the things that you can do to motivate people? And we will actually take you through that as we continue that, the whole series of this is the year of the new and emerging leader.

[10:17] Stepping Back from the Detail

Jan Terkelsen: So another transition would be that technical technicians are really immersed in the detail, usually the technical detail because they are producing the work. And if you are moving towards, moving in towards leadership, now you are actually administering the transactional you are kind of like, stepping back from.

So if you find yourself doing 80% of the work, you are actually not doing your job. You need to be administrating that. You need to be having that big picture approach and look at the work, the distribution of work, the distribution of people, and also the output as well.

[10:55] Implementing Change

 And the next one would be around change, Jan. So, new and emerging leaders really are responsible for interpreting the change, whereas before, they would just be given a set of changes.

Michelle Terkelsen: These need to happen, so they're implementers. And that's why they're so good. They get stuff done.

So they'd implement the change, and they're moving from not only implementing the change, but they actually need to interpret the change for the people that they have responsibility for. And that's key role I think for any leader is, your role is to interpret change for people, to make sense of it.

And in change management, they call it sense-making and sense-giving. And that is a key leadership skill that will carry on with you for the rest of your, for the rest of your career, actually, whether you are a junior leader or whether you're a very senior leader. How do you interpret the change, so it makes sense for those people who are having to implement the changes?

Jan Terkelsen: Yeah.

Michelle Terkelsen: And not only do you need to understand the change, but then you need to ask the question, "So what are the implications for my team? What does this mean for their work day? What does this mean for how they organise, either the goods or services that they're responsible for?" And that is, again, a bit of a mindset shift. Because it's not just you. It's about them.

Jan Terkelsen: And just those questions, Michelle, they're the type of questions as a new and emerging leader, that you could be asking your leader just to kind of like, get a sense of where the organisation is headed with this change as well.

[12:25] Immediate Focus to Short-Term Focus

Jan Terkelsen: And then, finally, let's just take one more, and we're looking at the way in which we look at work.

So usually, as a technician, it's all about immediate work and immediate goals, like, "What do I actually need to do now or today?" Whereas if you are moving into that leadership role, it's more about the short term.

So it's looking at goals but looking at shorter-term goals. So you actually do have goals. You actually have to measure them. You have to see the output. And you have to make sure that they're aligned to the business.

And then when you are really stepping into the leader's, leader's role, then you are looking at long-term strategic, sustainable.

But for a new and emerging leader, I think it's really important that you know how to set goals, how to have a plan, and to be able to work to that.

So there's some of the examples of the transition that people are going to move into if you're a new and emerging leader and reflect on, am I doing those things? Are there things that I need to be doing more of or less of? Do I need to be skilling myself up in certain areas?

And we are going to take you through a lot of examples of the skills and characteristics that you need throughout the year, for new and emerging leaders, to make sure that you have the best year yet.

[13:39] Always Look One Level Up

Jan Terkelsen: So, Michelle, let's have a look at maybe three focus areas for new and emerging leaders because we want to leave you with something to work on and to take action on.

And the first thing that I would do if I was a new and emerging leader is I would want to know what my manager's goals are. Like what are their objectives? What are the things that are keeping them up at night? And to see whether or not you can support and align your short-term objectives to help them.

And the more you can enter their world, then you are actually setting yourself up to become a leader with a focus, not just on you or your team. The next step is you know, like, to broaden that.

But let's just start where you are. So I'd be having a conversation with my one-up manager to look at what their objectives, what their goals are, and what they want to achieve for the team and the business.

Michelle Terkelsen: Without a doubt, Jan. And that's a great tip that I would encourage people to carry throughout their whole career. Always look one level up.

And the other thing is, who is going to judge your performance? It's your manager. So you want to be really clear about what's important to them.

[14:48] What Does Success Look Like for You and Your Team?

Michelle Terkelsen: The next area to focus on is your team, whether you have a team of one or a team of 20, or 200.

What does success look like for this team over the next six to 12 months? Not just in terms of what they need to produce, but their level of engagement, and the culture within that team.

And we've got a lot of resources on that, but just having a focus on understanding what does success look like for the team? Can I measure it? Am I looking out for those signs that tell me this is a constructive culture within the team? So focus on the team.

Then the next, and most important, focus area is yourself. "So what am I doing to grow and develop myself in terms of my leadership skills and capabilities?" And one of the best ways to do this is understanding and getting a level of self-awareness around your personality, your preferences, the things that perhaps set you off, that frustrates you.

So focus on yourself, your growth, your level of self-awareness. So, those three areas are really going to set you up for success, if you can give some time and attention to those as a new and emerging leader.

[15:56] Life Rewards Action

Jan Terkelsen: And life rewards action. So out of this podcast, we really encourage you to reflect on, what is the one thing that you could be doing now?

So if it's about your development, do you have a development plan? Do you have a set of objectives? Do you have something that you are working towards for yourself, for your personal and professional growth? If it's your team, have you organised a team session where you set your team up for the future?

So we really encourage you to take action. And if you have any questions for us, if you'd like an area where we can do a podcast on, especially in the realm of new and emerging leaders, this is the year for you.

Michelle Terkelsen: Yes, so get to it. Let us know.

Thanks, Jan.

Jan Terkelsen: Thanks, everyone. Bye bye.

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