The last thing you want to be as a leader is an insultant vs. a consultant. Leaders often consult with those they lead on how to do better, be better, and feel better about their results. But, here is what some outside consultants do that you want to stay away from.
Don’t Overstay Your Welcome
The comic definition of a consultant is one who is dressed in a suit, charges at least a hundred bucks an hour, and carries a briefcase. If you’re a leader within the organization you’re likely not going to achieve that, but the same principle applies. A consultant will often come in and look at everything, identify what is going wrong and then stick around to remind everyone of what they did wrong or should have done long ago, WHILE they are in the process of fixing it. If you’re going to point out what was done wrong, learn when to get the heck out of the way and let them resolve the issues or at least don’t let your knowledge of things gone wrong continue to be a part of the conversation. Negativity has a very brief roll out of the welcome mat.
Big Book of Wrong
Once you’ve noticed what went wrong or shared your insights, don’t put it all in a report, otherwise, known as the Big Book of Wrong, and then say well that was fun – ta-ta! Much as you might teach those you lead to come to you with a problem AND a solution, be sure you are armed with solutions or options that are in the same “Report” or conversation as all those things you notice that need to be done differently.
Give Them Wings, Not Fish
We’ve all heard the saying teach a man how to fish and you feed him for a life time vs. giving him a fish and you feed him for a day. The same is true of leadership consulting or your consultative approach to leadership. Give those you lead the ability to fly, to spread their own wings, develop their own skills, and thrive. If you get impatient while they are learning and are tempted to just do it for them, remember that you once had to learn as well, and that by doing it for them, you are giving them a fish, every day, instead of giving them wings to fly on their own.
The consultative approach to leadership takes a bit of practice. It’s about finding the balance between hands off and micromanagement. It involves determining when to be the mentor and when to be the manager. It also produces far greater results for not only you, but for those you have the privilege of contagiously and consultatively leading.
Monica Wofford, MBA, CSP, is an international speaker, trainer, and author who helps managers who were promoted, actually become prepared to lead.