The Generalist Leader

This post has been lying around for a while. I wrote it around October 2020 as a personal reflection and checklist while struggling in a leadership position. It was inspired by this Havard Business Review article written by Wanda T. Wallace and David Creelman: Leading People When They Know More Than You Do.

Your #1 job is to inspire confidence in your people, in your management. Inspire confidence in all you do, say, the way you appear.

Don’t answer questions you have no answer to. Practice asking questions. Ask questions to help your people succeed.

You don’t have to know the answer. But strive to know whom to call.

You’re not expected to do the (technical) work yourself, not all/most of the time. Be comfortable with that.

Do not limit your goals by your immediate competence.

Look up, raise your head. Big picture.

Be a “resourcer”. Someone who provides resources and enabling environment to help others do their job well. This is your primary job.

Seek to know the individual. Build relationships. Take care of your people.

Facilitate success: be someone who helps others do their job well.

Think about the issue/project two steps down.

Think about the issue/project two steps up.

Ask for help – from within, from without.

Discuss solutions.

Step back from the conversation, facilitate knowledge, understanding, progress.

Don’t try to do it, let the pros do it.

Step in when you’re called or point out what’s missing.

Incentivize your people.

Practice executive presence in dressing, calmness, tone of voice, crispness of speech.

Rest. Don’t wear yourself down with catching up in an area you know little about, pace yourself. Above all, ask questions. Learn and make decisions based on feedback.

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