You've probably heard that leadership is a journey, not a destination, right? While some people excel at it and become great leaders, others simply don't. They become the forgotten leaders or the ones who were "just there." It all begins with either a walk or a journey. Do you know if you're on a managerial walk or leadership journey?
A managerial walk is when you are doing daily tasks as you've always done or seen them done, in the past. Either you’re self-taught, or a former leader showed you how to do them. There is often nothing intentional about your actions or tasks.
According to Apollo Technical, "More than 77% of organizations report that leadership is lacking." This is often due to leaders being on a managerial walk.
There are a few ways you can tell that you are on a managerial walk vs. a leadership journey.
Self-awareness is defined as a combination of emotional awareness, accurate self-assessment, and self-confidence. In other words, it is all about knowing your emotions, recognizing your strengths and weaknesses, and having a solid sense of your accountability.
When you are on a managerial walk, you often don't have much self-awareness about what you are efficient in, such as accountability, communication, or diplomacy.
You often aren't self-aware in specific areas until someone repeatedly points them out. Unfortunately, when you are on a managerial walk, you often don't have someone pointing out improvement areas. That could be because you haven’t allowed someone to do that for you. Unaware leaders are often viewed as managers of processes, but not the leader of people.
Things look different when you are on a leadership journey.
Leadership is about setting clear strategic direction for yourself and your team, helping everyone develop key competencies, providing room for growth, and rewarding the efforts along the way. It’s defining characteristics and changes according to the needs of the individual, the organization, the industry, and the world at large.
Someone on a leadership journey has invested time, effort, and resources into learning good leadership skills, practices, and processes and is committed to growing each day.
But probably the biggest indicator that you are on a leadership journey is if you can step away from work for 30 days and the company will continue to move in a positive direction.
According to Gallup, "69% of Millennials are concerned that their workplace does not develop their leadership skills." However, someone on a leadership journey is always looking for ways to improve and better equip their team members intentionally.
Leaders on a journey are continuously giving points of clarification, providing opportunities to develop skills, and offering tools to make their team more effective at their role. By providing these transferable skills, the leader can help their team get in the zone faster and stay there longer.
By paying attention to processes and aligning teams so that they are dedicated to fulfilling goals, it's possible to create something that lasts much longer is more effective.
Only you can determine if you are on a managerial walk or leadership journey. However, to transform as a leader, you will need to intentionally find yourself a mentor who’s been on a leadership journey — someone that will help you to grow and seek out concrete daily opportunities to expand and improve yourself and those around you.