Episode 3 - The Blind Side: Being a High Performer Doesn’t Equal Leadership Potential
Episode 3 - The Blind Side: Being a High Performer Doesn’t Equal Leadership Potential

Episode 3 - The Blind Side: Being a High Performer Doesn’t Equal Leadership Potential


00:00 - 07:09



    In this eye-opening episode, we challenge the misconception that being proficient in one's role automatically translates to effective team leadership. We explore the potential pitfalls of assuming someone is ready or qualified to lead solely based on their technical competence. Join us as we uncover the dangers associated with this assumption and the detrimental impact it can have on teams and organizations. Gain valuable insights into identifying true leadership potential and fostering the grow


    Leadership Misconcepts

    Team Leadership

    Effective Leadership

    Technical Competence

    Employee Development

    Team Building

    Workplace Empowerment

    Leadership Challenges,

    self development

    productivity mindset

    The host discusses the misconception that high-performing employees will automatically make good leaders. Leadership requires different skills and experience. Some employees may not be interested in leadership roles. A case study is provided about a talented leader who lacked soft skills and caused issues with colleagues. The importance of a well-defined succession plan is emphasized. Having unqualified leaders can lead to negative consequences for the team and organization, including missed goals, conflict, and decreased efficiency. This can cost the US billions of dollars in lost productivity. Tips for improving succession planning are promised in future episodes. I'm your host, Laura Perez-Earhart. Welcome to Coachnomics Presents Podcast, a part of the ECS Network. This is our Mini-Byte Series. I'm an executive coach and have been coaching executive and senior leaders for over a couple of decades now. The theme today is the blind side. Being a high performer doesn't equal leadership potential. Do you know why a skilled employee is not always a good leader? Well, over the years, I've observed countless succession planning missteps organizations across both public and private sectors make when they think they're discovering their next line of future leaders. The most common mistake is assuming that a high-performing employee is automatically competent to lead a team. Here's why this is a dangerous assumption. Number one, being a good individual contributor is not the same as being a good leader. A high-performing employee may be able to get their work done and do it quite well, but they're not equipped or have the skills and experience necessary to lead a team. And number two, leadership is a skill that can be learned definitely, but it takes time, experience, and practice. Just because someone is a good individual contributor doesn't mean they're ready to lead a team overnight. And then number three, not everybody wants to be a leader. Surprise, right? Some people are perfectly happy being individual contributors, and there's nothing wrong with that. They may not be interested in taking on additional responsibilities of leadership. A couple of years ago, I was hired to work with a group of senior leaders in the finance industry on behalf of my client. And I was specifically asked to work with a senior leader who had been with the organization for several years, very talented, high-performing, everything you would expect in a leader, right? Well, however, there were some blindsides to the individual's soft skills. And to protect his identity, I'm going to call him Tim, that over time led the company's CEO wanting to dismiss him from his role. Tim had led several departments and over 450 direct reports. His teams loved him, but his senior colleagues, not so much. Here's why. Tim lacked the foresight to work effectively with his colleagues. And yes, there were some missed opportunities to communicate events that impacted his colleagues' departments, as well as the work that their teams were doing. Additionally, Tim could come across a bit abrasive and defensive during senior leader meetings, and making it difficult to engage with him, and also was offensive to some of the senior leader teams. So before I began working and coaching Tim, I wanted to have a discussion with his leader, and she was the president at the time. Let's call her Teresa. I asked Teresa, what kind of leadership training the organization provided stakeholders like Tim to prepare them for future success as a leader? Teresa stated that they didn't. And that was a huge misstep for the organization. So Teresa continued to explain that Tim had been under her wings for years, and she continued to promote him as she excelled in the organization. And she saw Tim as an outstanding contributor. He had amazing technical skills and deep, deep industry knowledge. That made him extremely knowledgeable, but extremely valuable to the organization as a whole. So Teresa mentored him, she coached Tim, thinking it would be enough. However, it wasn't. Hence the reason they made the investment and hired me as their executive coach. The moral of the story here is having a well-thought-out and defined succession plan makes all the difference. Regardless if you're identifying frontline leaders, mid-managers, executives, or senior managers, the role and the level of responsibilities will dictate the expectations and experience needed, required to do the role. And this will vary depending on the company, but the overall vision of what qualifies a leader should be consistent. When a team member is not ready or qualified to step into a pair of leadership shoes, it can have negative consequences for the individual, the team, and the organization as a whole. Some negative offsprings might be, number one, the team may struggle and they're not able to achieve its goals. A leader who's not qualified may not have the skills or experience necessary to lead a team to success, and it can lead to missed deadlines, a poor quality of work, and a lack of motivation amongst team members. And number two, the team may experience conflict and dysfunction, which in these scenarios I observe often. And a leader who's not trained or qualified may not be able to manage conflict effectively or even understand how to create a positive work environment. So this leads to friction and resentment amongst team members, making it problematic to get work done. And finally, number three, the organization may lose efficiency and revenue when a team can't achieve its goals, which can negatively influence the entire business. This could lead to lost productivity, decreased customer satisfaction, and missed revenue. So I want to back this up with some numbers to help my listeners out there realize how costly and serious this really can be. According to a report by the Gallup Group, disruptions such as unhappy workers cost the U.S. between $450 and $550 billion, that's billion with a B, annually to lost productivity. These numbers report that 70% of employees are disengaged at work, while with 80% disengaged due to a poor manager or poor leadership. Stay tuned to learn more about this topic and tips to avoid blind spies and improve your succession planning. Thank you.