People become leaders for various reasons throughout their career. Popular theory states some are ‘born leaders’ where others may grow into the skill.
For many of us, being a leader in business is often an ‘opportunity’ moment when the right role comes along and its time to step up. We start our careers in a vocation and learn as we develop, apply theory, and when we get feedback. In the technical arenas, such as the expertise in the Procurement and Contract Management world, there has often been conflict between the 2 expertise… do we value and promote those who are experts in their technical field to leaders, or do we value and promote those who are high on the softer skills around people leadership and teach them technical skills?
It comes down to 3 key opportunities with how people approach becoming a leader:
Want to lead:
Has a yearning to help others. May be driven by a need to pass on skills and develop others, looks for the opportunity to be ‘up the front’. Could be great at technical skills but may need to develop people leadership skills.
Chance to lead:
Falls into it. By proxy, has stepped up to lead (sometimes without the title) and has fallen in to becoming a leader. Might not have the skills to lead and may be a great technical expert who took the reins and ran with it.
Skills to lead:
Has the natural (or taught) leadership skills, but hasn’t been given a chance to use them yet. Might not be a leader who is bold enough to grab a ‘chance’ but has good skills that would benefit the team.
When all 3 things collide is where true leadership emerges. A leader who truly WANTS to lead and has a passion for it, coupled with the CHANCE to step up and try new things and is given the SKILLS to do it well will take the team to the next level.
Consider your leaders and your executive team. They may all have the chance due to their positions, but do they WANT to be there and have you really given them the SKILLS to be successful?