Leadership should be part of everything you do

Leadership should be part of everything you do

11 December 2020
Gerrit Sarens
Gerrit Sarens
  • There are always excuses not to talk about leadership: the pitfall of the operational adrenaline

  • In the past six months, we have spoken with over 200 managers about their leadership challenges. One striking observation is that leadership is still in quite some organizations the famous elephant in the room.

    We often hear: “You know how it goes, there are always many other priorities to focus on…”. Leadership is still considered as something to talk about “when we have fixed all other things,” “when we have some time left (read: never),” “in a quiet period,” “during the yearly offsite” …

  • The trap of the operational adrenaline

  • Many managers tend to give priority to what gives them immediate satisfaction: that report that needs to go out before 5 PM today, the daily firefighting, taking over tasks from their team when things do not move on, answering the e-mail from their CEO that came in two minutes ago, chasing their team, rushing from one call to another, … It is often called the sensation of feeling needed by others.

    Of course, you are exhausted at the end of the day, so we fully understand that leadership is not top of mind for you.

    On top of that, many managers moved up on the corporate ladder over the years without adequate support. They end up in management positions and then suddenly realize that ‘people things’ are also important, typically, when they have hit the wall a couple of times.

  • Leadership should be your priority

  • Leadership can not be decoupled from your day-to-day activities. Leadership is part of everything you do. With the right leadership in place, you will have fewer ‘things to fix,’ no firefighting anymore, time left in your agenda to work on what matters, not have to wait until the yearly offsite to discuss ‘sensitive’ issues, …

    And do not worry, people will need you even more but in ultimately another way: to inspire them, to coach them, to empower them, to make them grow. Wouldn’t that be fantastic?

  • How to start? Discuss first with your N+1

  • You want to step out of the rush of every day and work on leadership. That is easier said than done. How to start?

    The first thing we always recommend is to ask your N+1 for feedback on your leadership competencies and how he/she thinks you can improve these. Your N+1 should support you in your personal leadership development. Foresee enough time to discuss this regularly.

  • An Ambits Business Mentor can accelerate the process

  • Ambits Business Mentors have proven leadership experience and, therefore, understand your challenge very well. Besides your N+1, they are available to become your sounding board, your guide to become a strong leader.

    Contact us to discuss this further.

Struggles of a manager

Managers are

  • not or inadequately trained in this role


    • lack self-confidence
    • don’t know how to go from being a colleague to being a boss
    • need to loosen up on the command & control leadership style
    • must let go of the (technical) expert status
    • cannot give or accept constructive feedback
    • feel pressure to perform as manager
    • have difficulty building relationships
    • want to be liked by everyone or want to be the ‘bad boss’
    • play the hero
  • are struggling


    • stay too involved in operations
    • have trouble prioritizing
    • cannot delegate
    • fear conflict situations
    • disconnect from the team
    • deal with flawed strategic thinking
    • do not relate to higher management
    • lack clear communication skills
    • remain not self-aware
    • avoid difficult conversations
    • miss political antennas
    • ...
  • capable of more


    • need mental preparation as successor
    • need to be able to lead big changes ahead
    • need to learn to be emotionally resilient and in control
    • need to learn to make big decisions fast without all the information
    • must become persuasive presenters
    • need to learn how to cultivate their own personal brand
    • need to learn how to lead by example
    • manage by trust, not by fear
    • need to overly develop empathy
    • ...
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