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Be the leader you wish you had..

I saw this on LinkedIn the other day (can't remember who posted it #soz) and it's been percolating inside me ever since.

Having recently stepped into a full-time employed role for the first time in 11 years, and becoming a line manager for 5 people is probably why this peaked my interest. But after a coaching session with the wonderful Fede to explore this topic a real clarity has emerged.

Before we jump in, my intention for this post is to trigger some thoughts in you about how you manage / lead / coach people, encourage some reflection and maybe setting some fresh intentions. So whilst I talk from my experience and intentions, please imagine it's just you talking and thinking aloud when you read on. Some things may land, some may not, and either is fine, but ask yourself this:

What kind of manager / leader / coach do I want to be?

I've been fortunate to work with several great people in my career, and the standout thing they provided that made the biggest impact was TRUST.

This isn't about anyone saying 'I trust you' but about finding yourself in situations that simply wouldn't have happened without the presence of trust. It's an incredibly empowering feeling.

Speaking of be empowered to run a meeting, a short term initiative or medium term project is one thing. To be empowered to take control of your own career is quite another.

Assuming a NURTURING stance can be quite natural for some, and to use this to ENCOURAGE FORWARD MOMENTUM of someone's personal and professional growth can open many great conversations. What books can you recommend? What training courses might be appropriate? Who is an expert that you can introduce them to?

There's an interesting interplay here between encouraging people and trusting they will find their own path. One should not be considered without the other.

By making a deliberate effort to tap into what someone wants for themselves PROVOKES CURIOSITY. What questions can you ask to get those cogs turning? What signals will tell you (and them) that there is something more to explore?

Always looking for new paths to explore together paints a picture of being on a SHARED JOURNEY. As a manager their journey is part of your journey. Your journey is part of theirs. You're in this together.

My instinct is that these are some of the things that make people feel CARED FOR. The things that increase a SENSE OF BELONGING. That PROVIDE WARMTH.

Finally, those of you that know me will not be surprised with the inclusion of HUMILITY being a key tenet, that should not be underestimated.


Discovering the kind of manager / leader / coach you want to be is only half the story. Becoming it is a different challenge altogether!

I've learnt that telling people "This is the kind of manager I want to be" can often lead to awkward silences. You're almost forcing your needs and wants onto someone else in the expectation of a validating response. That in itself is an anti-pattern!

Created a working agreement can be useful, but can also feel a bit constraining and deterministic. So if this is something you do, great, but don't hold it too tight. As with many things in life just setting the intention with yourself, and offering invitations to others at appropriate times is often good enough.

Final note - Sure, there are plenty of buzzwords dotted around this article, but I invite you not to focus on what you think about that, and instead focus on how they make you feel. Your feelings are the best signal of what is important to you. Notice, and walk towards them.

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