The Leaders Role as a Playmaker

Leaders Beware: The behaviours that got you promoted will not necessarily be the behaviours that enable you to succeed in a leadership role

Leaders get promoted for a variety of reasons, some within their zone of influence, some outside. The humility required to realise this reality is a key ingredient for leaders to succeed in their new role. The lessons start with realising they first have to resist the temptation to do their old job and their organisation may not help them here.

Too many new leaders, who get promoted from within, hear the words ‘can you keep a watching brief on your old role until we get someone in place and up to speed’ Your organisation will recognise you for what you did, not what you have to do now, and this challenge is leadership lesson #1.

If you join a new organisation the pressure comes from within yourself. You will be in a new and stressful situation and it is perfectly natural to revert back to your proven capabilities and experiences, believing this is what got you the role in the first place. To some extent this is of course true. However, be careful! New leadership positions require new learning, new behaviours, new habits, new rituals and new routines.

The mixture of proclivities that enable leaders to flex behaviours to suit the many and varied situations they encounter is the key attribute to long term leadership success. In our Change Maker Profile these attributes are the attributed to the Playmaker role.

Playmakers at their best spend time investing in relationships. They focus on getting things done through the strength of those relationships and seek then appreciate shared endeavours and great teamwork. They enable rather than delegate and get genuine pleasure from seeing others having their moment in the sun. As a result they get the very best from others around them, be they colleagues, subordinates or key stakeholders.

They are the conductors of the orchestra and being a great trumpet player is no longer what is required.

This Playmaker set of attributes are not often the ones that get the leader promoted in the first place however. Excelling at the other proclivities such as Game Changer; Strategist; Implementer or Polisher are usually where leaders cut their teeth and excel in their professional role.

Things to think about

We created the Change Maker Profile in order for everyone to understand what proclivities they have and when they should best be deployed in any change process.

Game Changers – have the natural ability to see things the way others do not. Their potential contribution to an organisation is around radical rather than incremental change. Leaders turn to Game Changers when they require some new thinking to shake up an existing paradigm. The challenge is however to make sense of these new ideas and this is the job of the Strategist

Strategists – At their best they can bring clarity and excitement to any change process. They usually see the big picture and have the business acumen and analytical skills to convert ideas into commercially focused strategies. They are not the ones best placed to actually deliver however, that role is best suited to the Implementers

Implementers- deliver change. They have a strong pragmatic philosophy that means they are relied upon to get things done in a dependable way, they are outcome focused without being a slave to process. They are typically high energy people who drive through obstacles in order to achieve outcomes. Ideally suited to projects they however are not the best at the art of continuous improvement. This is best left to the Polishers

Polishers – seek to set the standards for excellence. They have the patience and detailed knowledge required to drive for continuous performance improvement. At their best they understand and can clearly articulate the commercial competitive advantage that can be derived from the relentless pursuit of excellence.

The leaders job is to get the best from each of these roles. Like a conductor of an orchestra they have to ensure the various roles play in harmony and avoid the cacophony of noise that will result if every section plays louder and louder until they are heard!

The Change Maker Profile gives leaders the information they need to conduct their orchestra with confidence and clarity. If you require further information about this profiling tool and how it can be applied across your teams then simply contact us.

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