Posted by: Dr Pano Kroko Churchill | November 25, 2014

So You wanna be a Leader? Become a Good Man First…

It’s hard to be a Leader when you are a Start Upper, a recent engineering Graduate, a nascent MBA, or even a brilliant Tech Coder and Science Innovator. And since you don’t have the title “manager” on your resume, and are not able to provide specific examples of your management experience, most people will discount your “balls.”

So what’s an aspiring Leader can do without holding formal management positions in their youthful exuberant state?
You can do quite a lot as it turns out. First off: If you are interested in becoming a manager of People and resources, and a Leader to boot — then there is no better way that learning by doing. And here bellow are the best ways to get management experience without being a manager already. And for those of you graduating from my Innovation Master Class and having a young Start up Company to lead; all of these things are the daily bread of a Start Up Leader. So please start thriving in it…

Leadership Qualities, Leadership Development, Program Management Skills, People management skills, and Leadership Programs, are all things that people need, but above all else You must really take the lead on a Project and deliver results to see if you can cut it.

Sure — You can also take a course on the subject, or gain practical experience in project management in a large organization, but it doesn’t suffice. Nor is it effective to read a good book on the topic, and interview successful project managers, to get an idea of what it’s about… You can even get certified as a project manager, but that will still not be enough.

Instead, do this one thing: Lead a Project from the ground up and deliver a success. Or a failure. Both things will teach you to do this thing and unleash the monster within. Just Do It. Do this one project and then forget it as you go on to become a Leader. Because in a New Company, you need be both a good Leader and a good Manager and unless you are planning to make a career out of project management, these skills you will learn will propel you to become a Leader and a better Manager too.

So Let’s Get Cranking:

Number One is to manage yourself to get in a position to Lead a project. Any Project will do. For Profit, for Non-Profit, for Church or Institution, or for Company — the Project Leadership skills are the same, because the skills required to be an effective project manager are very similar to the skills required to be an effective general manager, or Leader of an Enterprise.
Simple Management Skills all Leaders must have are the following: business planning, organizing, setting goals, managing budgets, leading people, and juggling multiple priorities. If you have never managed a project before, then start by volunteering for project teams. It doesn’t have to be a huge project – start small – perhaps volunteering to do the Community Outreach. Or to organize the local church’s Thanksgiving food drive. Or better yet to lead a stealth project for a new product that the engineers want to test out without incurring the wrath of management for wasting their time. Hopefully, you’ll get to do something really cool and also experience what a good project manager does. You should also observe carefully what the ineffective project managers do and learn from it. Either way you have to lead a project in order to qualify for Leadership Management. Then, once you’ve established yourself as a dependable team Manager, through your newfound Project management expertise — you should step up and volunteer to lead a really valuable company project. That’s the way to launch your career towards Leadership Management. And that’s another thing they don’t teach you at Business School: How to manage the leadership track…

Number Two is to learn how to and to constantly practice by making part of your personality and character the Art and the Ability to Collaborate, Cooperate, Train, Teach, Coach, and Mentor others. A big part of being an effective manager and an aspiring and aspirational Leader, is to develop the People in your presence, in your circle, in your team, and then enlarge the circle from there on, to include all the people in your company, all the people you come into contact with, and on, and on… And in order to do that, it must become part of your nature to nurture the best qualities in all others. Of course a manager needs to know the basics such as how to “take onboard” and train new employees, coach experienced employees, and eventually mentor employees. But you also have to know how to hire and how to fire fast too. Of course, in order to be considered for an opportunity to train new employees, it’s a given that you’d need to be very good at your job, or whatever it is that you’re teaching others and not just theoretical either. Ergo your Project management skills come-in-handy because You probably have done all that before — by doing your project well. But beyond being good at something, it’s important to learn and practice the skills of training, coaching, and mentoring. And the best way to learn is by doing it fearlessly. So Go Ahead and volunteer to develop a training program for young recruits. And if the company doesn’t trust you with it, do it on your own time by volunteering to mentor underprivileged kids in a tough neighborhood. Learn to deal with gangsta bangers’ little brothers and coach them to play in a sports team, or be the Big Brother in their lives and you’ll be Golden for my Start Ups any day of the week. So Learn the art of coaching others and learn the Socratic Dialogue by asking great questions, and you’ll be OK.

The Third thing to do is to hone your interactive communication skills. Many organizations use selection committees, hiring teams, or will involve others when interviewing internal and external management candidates, and especially when selecting Project Mangers and Leaders, and you can ace all that by being the different guy who helps ghetto kids on his own time. Again, you have to volunteer for these opportunities to help selflessly out in the community in order to be the Big Guy inside your Organization. And it’s no small potatoes that the Good Karma will shine upon you her eternal sunlight too. Do this and do it well. Don’t just “wing it” when it’s your turn to interview. Just Ace It. Develop a list of great interview questions, practice active listening and asking probing follow-up questions, and learn how to establish a rapport quickly. Being on the other side of the table is Gold because the company wants you to be able to screen, interview, and select great employees as an essential management skill that can be learned and practiced in either side of the fence you stand. My humble advise is to always practice loving kindness on all your crucial conversations, in the job and on the field, and all things will become clear and you’ll be seen as a good communicator.

The Fourth Thing is to Learn to manage conflict. Mange this and you’ll be known as the Conflict resolution Go-To person. But to do this You must have done a few terrifying yet crucial employment and Life and Death serious conversations, and be able to give loving kindness, firmness, and great feedback as well as advise for going forward to the other person. Dealing with those emotionally sticky “people issues” is the most challenging part of a manager’s job but it can also be the most rewarding. We all face challenging people issues with our co-workers, family members, and friends and we have to overcome petty feelings to rise above our situation. So your Life is “rich” when it comes to opportunities to resolve conflict and gain trust. Learn how to do it in a positive, smiling, and constructive way. Being able to provide specific examples of when you were able to handle a conflict, provide difficult feedback, or address a sensitive issue, will demonstrate that you have the willingness and capability to handle the “people” aspect of a management position. And believe me, this is how Leaders are made. In the ghetto there are plenty of experienced handlers, such as Police, Social Workers & Church People, that cannot deal with people issues, without invoking their ultimate power authority. But if you are able to resolve conflict through your communication nd Conflict Resolution Skills, then this single Quality will set you miles apart, and propel you to genuine Leadership positions.

And the Fifth most important thing is to mange resources and logistics. And the way to do this is by finding, creating, and managing a budget. As a Leader and a Manager, I would love it if one of my people comes to me with a Project Idea and an accompanying budget to boot. If employees volunteered to create and manage a budget for me, I would be twice thrilled. And while there are some managers who enjoy the number crunching aspect of management, for me is the least favourite part and therefore I delegate it to the computer programing software that does it best with minimum input. I expect my people to be just as good on this. So if you’re good at Excel, and spreadsheets in general — you can learn to create and manage a budget. But it would be the genius amongst you who can also find the resources to fund the budget for a new Project before coming to see me… Still a good place to start is with your own team budget. If you can convince me to let go of the budgeting responsibility, you can be the new Star. Still today, you have to do what you do by learning finance, budgeting, and accounting. Take an online course, learn to do a cost-benefit analysis and ROI, and learn to speak like a bean-counter. See the Finance and Accounting Glossary for the Non-Financial Manager on the Internet and learn how to do honest to goodness Corporate Logic accounting.

But be a Project Leader first and start by being One amongst the Great Leaders, by working with the kids in the ghetto. Just don’t drive your fancy car down there because that’s a bad introduction and a temptation to boot…

Do this and then come see me for a job.

Yours,
Pano

PS:

There are a lot more skills you can learn to prepare you to be a good manager, and those include presentation skills, communication skills, leading through change, adapting and leading an organization to change, developing flexible and strategic thinking, offering tactical reasoning, and many other good and useful skills.

In order to become a Leader is also very important to be able to share from personal experience stories of your Life, and to be able to talk about what you have done, in order to motivate people to go through change and adversity. Tell them that story, in order to lead them — not what they should do.

The management practice above is like yoga in that it will give you the proper balance, and the posture to gain all the practical management experience needed, to help propel you on your journey forward, towards your Leadership position.

However to become a Good Leader you should also be a Tough Mother when it comes to people, and there is no better experience to do this than working with the difficult kids in the ghetto. Do this and come see me because this is just the primer to set you on your way…


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