Leading Leaders: bright ideas for the next level of leadership

Originally posted on LinkedIn on February 15, 2018. 

A little while ago, I posed a question on LinkedIn to get advice for new leaders: how to support those employees with little or no supervisory experience grow into truly effective leaders of staff. I got some really great responses.

As a follow up question, I thought I'd take it to the next level: what advice do you have for "leaders of leaders" - those supervisors who now lead other supervisors?

A few years ago, I noticed a big change in my career. I went from leading a team of staff, to leading leaders of staff. As a director, now leading managers and supervisors, I had stepped into a whole new world.

When we lead staff, we give them a sense of the big picture, and then we help them align their work to that picture. Staff can execute on their piece of big picture, but usually on a pretty tactical level, and only as it relates to their specific job description. We articulate the vision to them, but only the bits they really need to know. We retain ownership of the big picture. Leadership of staff can be quite linear.

When it comes to leading leaders, it's a very different approach. We share so much more: the big picture, the challenges that come with the big picture, and the plans to get around those challenges. And together, we discuss different perspectives and interpretations of the big picture. Then we set the leaders free, inspiring them to inspire others, to translate the big picture for their own staff. In this case, we share ownership of the big picture. Leadership of leaders is much more holistic than leadership of staff. 

Would you agree? 

What advice do you have for anyone making the leap from a "leading staff" role to a bigger and broader "leading leaders" role?

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