Sunday, May 11, 2008

Leadership Growth - Understand the four phases

Why is it that sometimes we're very comfortable leading a task and yet at other times we feel we are floundering along. The theorists will tell us there are four phases of Leadership growth and we must be able to recognise each and the steps we need to take to move to the next state.

These states are commonly known as:

  1. I don't know What I don't know,
  2. I know what I don't know,
  3. I grow and know and it starts to show, and
  4. I go because of what I know.

I don't know What I don't know.

This stage of leadership usually occurs when we take on a new series of tasks, the tasks are unfamiliar and we're not sure what is the right direction to move. When we're at this stage we feel uncomfortable and it is important we get busy to understand what the task is and how it gets done and then appraise the situation for the best effect.

I know what I don't know.

Having recognised the first stage and spent some time to learn the task and current process, now is the time to set up a path to learn all the missing information on product process and people. We need to leverage those in the current job to map a course to bridge this missing knowledge gap.

I Grow I know and it starts to show.

Now we have spent the time to fill our knowledge gap, now we can start to do an analysis to see what is the best way to move forward. As this analysis gains momentum we can start to make changes with the processes and people to lead the team in our way. Often at this stage the team start to feel that everything is coming together, people know what to do and the process is running smoothly with few problems.

I Go because I know.

Now I'm quite comfortable with the task and the people and processes I've adjusted along the way. I have a good understanding of all of the factors, so now when problems arise I can call on my knowledge and easily and quickly adjust the team to complete my tasks.

Understanding these four stages helps us to focus on the steps to move from the first stage through to the competent stage, the better we identify where we are placed tells us what is required to move forward so our leadership at its optimum.

Take the time to do an assessment, can you recognise where you are in this cycle. Once you have reached this understanding, now allocate the time to move to the next stage. If you do the time your leadership will improve.

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