The 3 personas of a leader
If you've been a leader for at least a few months, you’re probably beginning to notice a few things about your “new normal”. These might include:
• There are different facets of your role
• You need to use a different approach in different situations at work
• You still do your “day job”
• You feel that you have more to do, but no extra time to do it in. But that’s life…!
Now you’ve recognised these things, it’s time to start thinking about the different elements of your role (I like to call them “personas”), which to employ each, and what that looks like.
Persona 1: Leader
Being a leader is about setting the vision for your team. It’s about know where you are as a group and where you want to get to. It’s also about thinking about what needs to happen to achieve that. This is about knowing your vision and making sure every decision you make supports that vision. It’s the leader who thinks about setting motivational targets, KPIs and standards for the team to drive performance.
It’s also about motivating people towards that vision, and spotting external or internal events which could help or hinder you on the way. The more you’re aware of, the more power you have to control your team’s direction.
Persona 2: Manager
Being a leader is about managing the day-to-day for your team. It includes things like setting personal development objectives with individuals, delegating tasks, monitoring performance, coaching for improvement, and delivering feedback.
Management also includes creating performance improvement plans, and intervening appropriately when things don’t go to plan. The manager persona supports the leader.
Persona 3: Expert
You got your leadership role by being great at your previous job – by being an expert. Now that you’re in a leadership position, expert is still an important part of your role (team members will come to you for technical advice), but it’s something which you need to keep in check. It’s too easy to fall back on this part of your role, because it’s familiar, and you know you’re good at it. However, if you over-do expert, this can cause a number of problems:
• Your team feels micro-managed
• You don’t allow individuals in your team to develop
• Your time is sucked into answering technical questions rather than the important manager and leader tasks
• “Team expertise” becomes stale because you’re not actively using people’s knowledge