“He is a genius with 1000 helpers,” the CEO said, quoting the business classic Good to Great to describe one of her direct reports. “He has to move from being a technical expert to a leader and focus on developing his people.” This is a very common scenario in my coaching practice.
When a technical expert who has been rewarded for his knowledge and results is promoted to a leadership role, he can feel woefully unprepared. That can lead to fear of failure and a tendency to fall back on what has served him well – being an expert who solves problems. Except that even a genius can’t solve every problem and a leader’s job is to coach and empower others.
How do you do that? A recent Gartner survey concluded that the most effective style for developing high performers is a Connector. Instead of being too hands-on or too hands-off, the Connector asks the right questions, provides tailored feedback and connects team members to others who can help them.
A technical expert is usually good at connecting dots. If he can evolve into a leader who connects his people to the right developmental resources, he will no longer be a genius with 1000 helpers.