You may have not realized but moving into a leadership role is like being a teacher in your organization. It’s probably not the first thing you thought about when you were promoted, but there are many similarities between being a leader and a teacher. Here are three that I have experienced during my time in leadership.
As a leader of your organization it is important to coach and mentor your employees throughout their tenure. It’s important to step out of their way, allow them to make mistakes, and be there for them when they do. Also, allow your employees opportunities for stretch assignments so they do not feel or become stagnate in their work. To retain top talent, it’s essential to give them these opportunities so they feel valued. Your coaching comes in similar to a teacher by leading them down the best path but allowing them to make their own decisions.
Although the roles are set a bit more clearly with the teacher-student relationship, this can be done with a leader-employee relationship as well. One way to do this is to set the right example for your staff. If you ask your employees to not be late to a meeting, for example, it’s best for you not to be late to meetings as well. One cause of disengagement with employees is if they are seeing their leaders being inauthentic with their rule setting. Instead, be open if a rule doesn’t apply and explain the why behind it. This will allow employees to see how you are being open and honest, and they will do the same.
It’s not about you; it’s about them
Although it seems obvious, your professional development as a leader is more about how to grow your employees than it being about you. Many teachers outside of the normal classroom time have meetings and conferences on how to become even better teachers to help their students. Similarly, leaders must focus their energy into their employees, growing them, and helping them and in turn they will become a better leader. it’s more about giving your team recognition rather than expecting the recognition for yourself. When your team completes a project or hits a milestone know that your coaching, example setting, and focusing on them will have been an instrumental role in their success.
These are not the only ways leaders and teachers are similar. If you have some that influence your work life, please share with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Amber O’Reilly, Talent Development Supervisor