Part of an ongoing series of articles on leadership capability patterns; this article looks at some leadership patterns that relate to people.
In 2007, I contracted at the Financial Services Authority in Canary Wharf, London, on a project to research and implement an enterprise document and records management system. At the same time as leading the vendor selection process on that project, I was given responsibilities for a second project, to launch a consumer advice service, for which I was asked to mentor a new team member.
I had led small projects before, but I hadn’t formally had to mentor anyone, so this was as much a learning experience for me as it was for them. We had some fits and starts as we went, however between us, we established a pattern of me listening to their challenges, asking smart questions that got them to reframe their problems, and then some suggestions of where to look for more information.
I’ve come to realise that something that runs as a thread through all my work is a real interest in and focus on the people factor. There is a great Maori proverb
He aha te mea nui o te ao?
He tangata! He tangata! He tangata!
Or to put it another way, “What is the most important thing? It is people! It is people! It is people!”
While this is very true when we’re talking about mentoring people in their roles, I interpret this in a broader context; we deal with people on so many levels.
Being a good leader means being able to identify the roles you need, selecting people with the aptitude to fill those roles, and then supporting their growth in terms of knowledge and skills. I represent this with the people–skills axis in the leadership capability patterns.
I think of this as the first capability level in the leadership capability patterns, focusing on people and what they need to complete the tasks they do.
Explore the related articles in this series: